This paper sets out the job of working hapless in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. The societal apprehensions of the working hapless in both parts will be examined in this paper. Then we will look at the societal programmes/policies response to happen out how they deal with this job with different attacks. Finally, we will compare both the societal apprehensions and policies response. In the last subdivision, this paper proposes recommendations.

Cardinal words: working hapless ; Hong Kong ; United Kingdom ; minimal pay ; societal security

In this paper, we focus on the job of working hapless in H.K. and the United Kingdom. Then we compare the societal apprehension and the societal policies/programmes turn toing the job of working hapless. Finally, we will suggest recommendations for both authorities and province what H.K. authorities could larn from the UK.

Social status:

This paper focuses on the job of working hapless in H.K. and the United Kingdom. The construct of “ working hapless ‘ has been set Forth by the International Labour Organisation ( ILO ) . It refers to those people who work but do non gain a life adequate to populate themselves and households above the poorness threshold. In this instance, the entire income of a household, instead than the income of an person, is finding whether the household or family is populating in poorness. ( Lego, 2006 )

This issue has besides been examined in the United States, Canada and Australia and besides in the European Union. In general, it is accepted that working hapless refers to those who work either full clip, or more than a specified figure of hours over a period ( such as six months to a twelvemonth ) , and their income is lower than a threshold. ( legco, 2006 )


First, harmonizing to Chilman, enduring from multiple emphasiss of poorness conditions may damage the physical, psychological and economic wellness of the full household. These emphasiss, together with basic economic jobs may coerce them into full dependance on public assistance programmes. ( Levitan & A ; Shapiro, 1987 ; Levy 1987 ; Sawhill 1988 ) Therefore, to forestall the financial load of the authorities on public assistance programmes, working hapless should be dealt by absolute needfully.

Second, the entree to quality wellness attention is bit by bit being demonstrated as an of import dimension of societal stratification. Research shows that working hapless households without wellness insurance use the wellness attention system less often in the U.S. , and they are in hapless wellness and endure more from unwellnesss because of ignorance. ( Seccombe, 2000 ) Working poorer households may fall into deeper problem as they try to pay their wellness attention costs.

Finally, appraisal from Kapsos ( 2004 ) shows that 40.8 % of entire employment in the universe work are still unable to go through the US $ 2 a twenty-four hours poorness line set by the ILO and 13.1 % of entire employment can non raise themselves and their households above the utmost US $ 1 a twenty-four hours poorness threshold in 2015 ( GundoAYan, Bicerli and AydA±n: 2005 ) . This is going a new poorness hazard amongst the employed population.

The profile of working hapless in Hong Kong:

The definition of the working hapless in Hong Kong is different from the U.S. Harmonizing to the legislative council ( legco ) study on working poorness, Hong Kong has no official poorness line or threshold but some organisations such as HKCSS ( Hong Kong Council of Social Service ) consider a family to be populating in poorness, if their monthly income is below 50 % of the average income of the families of the same size with at least one member working. The subcommittee of the legco on poorness besides considers them as working-poor families. ( legco 2006 ; CoP 2006 )

To derive a comprehensive apprehension of this job, we will analyze how the authorities, general populace and the NGOs ( non-governmental organisation ) define the working hapless.

Government: its ‘ apprehension on working hapless is that Hong Kong economic system has undertaken restructuring and transformed into a knowledge-based economic system, hence, low-skilled and low-education workers will happen it hard to gain a life to back up themselves. The authorities ‘s scheme on working hapless is to help them to travel out of poorness and make autonomy ( such as heightening their employability ) . ( CoP, 2006 )

Nongovernmental organization: their apprehension on working hapless is that they live and work without a just pay and that employment poorness is unjust. Therefore, they have campaigned for the minimal pay as the minimal title we should make to stop poorness. ( Oxfam Hong Kong ) the general apprehension is that the cause of the working hapless is non because of the indolence of the people, it is caused by the unjust distribution of resources. A batch of people who do work really hard but still their wagess are to populate in poorness. ( hkcss, 2010 )

Policy/programme responses:

This paper examines two different plan and they are short-run nutrient aid services, transport support strategy.

Short-run nutrient aid services:

Brief: A new committedness of $ 100 million is spent for puting up service undertakings over the district by the Social Welfare Department ( SWD ) to work with non-governmental organisations ( NGOs ) to offer short-run nutrient aid for persons and households in demand. Those undertakings will be operated by NGOs merely.

Coverage and mark group:

A sum of five service undertakings covering the district and persons or households who have proven troubles in get bying with day-to-day nutrient outgo, for a upper limit of six hebdomads. ( This includes low-income groups which are non receivers of CSSA or have monthly income of less than $ 10,000 ) . Each undertaking will assist at least 10000 individuals, so a lower limit of 50000 individuals will be benefited.

The design of this undertaking is in line with the Government ‘s ongoing attempt in advancing three-party coaction between the community, the concern and the Government. However, most low-income earners engaged in labor or out-of-door work were excluded from this strategy. For illustration, they can non convey a tiffin box as there is no icebox provided at their workplaces. ( legco, 2009 )

Transport Support Scheme: ( legco panel on work force )

Brief: Launched on 25 June 2007, one of the poorness alleviation steps to supply time-limited conveyance subsidy to job-seekers and low income employees.

Coverage and mark group: Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, New Territories North and outlying islands with monthly wages below HK $ 6,500 are eligible for conveyance allowance of HK $ 600 a month under the current strategy.

The principle behind this programme is the belief that societal exclusion is a major factor for working hapless, particularly those who live in distant countries.

However, the prosperity of this programme is in uncertainty because merely 40,203 people have applied for this strategy since its launch. ( about 18.5 % of the employed individuals ( 217,100 in 2010 Q2 ) ) in hapless families. ( Oxfam, 2009 )

The profile of working hapless in the United Kingdom:

In the United Kingdom, the on the job hapless are defined in the same manner as the European Commission. Harmonizing to the definition, the poorness line is set at the 60 % of the national average family income. The thought of the ‘working hapless ‘ first came to public attending was the begining of last century, through some writers such as Seerbohm Rowntree ‘s landmark book Poverty: A Study of Town Life ( 1901 ) . This issue has become more of import over the last 10 old ages due to a legion factors. First, it is a reaction to the increased rates of income inequality that have occurred within the U.K. in the last three decennaries. Second, the incidence of working hapless has risen in the past decennary. More than 5.3 million people in the U.K. were paid less than ?6.67 an hr in April 2006- equivalent to 60 % of average full-time wage. In add-on, concern over this issue has been focused on the subject of kid poorness because of the pledge to get rid of kid poorness by the New Labour. ( EWCO, 2010 ; Cooke & A ; Lawton, 2008 )

In order to derive a comprehensive apprehension of this job, we will analyze how the authorities, general populace and the NGOs ( non-governmental organisation ) define the job of working hapless.

Government: The current alliance authorities has rather a different position with the old Labour authorities. They see the job of working hapless as unjust and they want to reform the benefit system to advance work incentives/make work wage and combat worklessness. The old Labour authorities has created a batch of benefits to the worklessness ; this has led to welfare dependence. Therefore, it has discredited the working inducements because the returns from work can be highly low. For illustration, if you are a low earning earner, all or about all of your net incomes will be deducted from the benefits. ( Department for Work and Pensions, 2010 )

Nongovernmental organization: they have believed that in a society in which working hapless life in poorness should be treated with self-respect and regard. The job of working hapless is non the mistake of the person, in fact is an result of important and complex barriers that people face. ( Oxfam GB, 2010 )

Policy/programme responses:

A scope of policies have been made to battle working hapless, such as the national lower limit pay and kid benefit.

National lower limit pay:

Brief: It is introduced in the U.K. in 1999 and a cardinal policy to battle the job of working hapless. The ordinance is statutory and applies to every worker in the state. There is an establishment called the Low Pay Commission which advises the authorities on appropriate award degrees. Pay rate for the workers in the agricultural sector are set by the Agricultural Wages Boards. The current rate is GBP5.93 for the age 21 or over ; GBP4.92 ( 18-20 ) ; GBP3.64 ( 16-17 ) .

However, IPPR ( Institute for Public Policy Research ) argued that it has limited impact on the job of working hapless in London and proposed that there should be a higher minimal pay applies in London. For illustration, lower limit pay workers in London earn merely over a 3rd of average regional wage, compared with an norm of over than half.

The principle behind this policy is that low wage is a major factor for the high degrees of working hapless population. It is unfairness in itself and to accomplish a fairer society, we need to work on this issue. One of the major instructions for undertaking low wage is through the minimal pay.

Child Benefit:

Child benefit is a tax-exempt payment that you can claim for your kid. Normally, if you have kids under 16 or under 20 and in certain types of instruction and unrecorded in the U.K. , so you will be qualified. ( HM Revenue & A ; Customs, 2010 ) It is portion of the societal security system in the U.K.. The principle behind this programme is to better the distribution of resources in two ways: within the household and between households ( fairer than child revenue enhancement recognition ) .


When comparing the two part ‘s societal apprehension and societal policies on the job of working hapless, the two tabular arraies below illustrate a comprehensive image of their societal apprehension ; societal theory and policies turn toing the working hapless.

Table 1: comparing the societal theory and societal apprehension between the U.K.and H.K.

Internet Explorers and their characteristics

Harmonizing to the societal apprehension and programmes implemented in Hong Kong, we define it has a characteristic of the progressive attack because it excludes those better-off members of the society from the public assistance ( those programmes are means-tested ) and ask those who are more able in the market to assist those who are non ( through revenue enhancement ) . Low-income families will maintain their aid because they are disadvantaged in the society and should be helped by the better-off. Its ‘ programmes tried to avoid public assistance dependence as it is time-limited ; the belief is that the authorities is to give manus up, non hand-out. ( Barusch, 2009 )

How about the United Kingdom? It could be defined as holding the characteristic of the socialist attack because the public assistance is distributed harmonizing to the demand but their part or ability. The characteristic of universal in the programmes ( minimal pay and child benefit ) clearly shows that no affair what is your societal position, if you are in demand, you are entitled to bask the societal public assistance. ( Barusch, 2009 )

The manner forward:

Although both parts have introduced and implemented a series of programmes/policies to turn to the job of working hapless, it remains an unresolved job. As both authoritiess emphasized on the importance of work as a major force for autonomy and believe that lower limit pay could be a warrant for pay. However, public assistance receivers normally leave public assistance and enter low-skilled occupation and gaining minimal pay but non a life pay, it is difficult for them to get the better of the barriers to success. ( Siegel, 2007 )

Therefore, as a societal work, we should maintain candidacy for a ‘living pay ‘ ; we recommend that the minimal pay should lift systematically with mean net incomes growth- measured over an economic rhythm to let flexibleness in visible radiation of peculiar labor market fortunes ( Cooke and Lawton, 2008 ) . To guarantee that low-paid earners could maintain up with the norm, in order to procure their societal demand. In add-on, both authoritiess should supply in-work support and preparation to low-paid earners to keep societal mobility. ( Gottfried and Lawton, 2010 )

After comparing the public assistance policies and programmes between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, H.K. has a lesson to larn from the U.K.. Firstly, pulling from the U.K. ‘s experience, the minimal pay should be high plenty to allow low-income breadwinners to run into the demands of their households. Second, the authorities should supply more inducements such as revenue enhancement inducement to promote low-income earners to remain in the occupation market, which are effectual step in the United Kingdom.


In this paper, we have focused on the job of working hapless in H.K. and the United Kingdom. Then we have compared the societal apprehension and the societal policies/programmes turn toing the job of working hapless. The result of the comparing is that they are taking different attack on this issue. Finally, we have some recommendations for both authorities and stated what H.K. authorities could larn from the U.K..