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The working population of Hong Kong has increased since the implementation of the HK$28 statutory minimum wage on May 1, the chairman of the Minimum Wage Commission said on Aug 25.
The number of older workers aged over 50 showed a pronounced increase, Chairman Jat Sew-tong said at a media conference.
The surge in the entire labor force is an apparent effect owing to a nearly 10 percent increase in wages among those at the lowest end of the salary scale, Jat said.
The size of the whole working population increased by about 45,500 in the May-to-July period over the previous quarter, said Helen Chan, a government economist.
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"The average wage increase of the workers in the lowest-paid decile is 9.7 percent. Excluding the inflation factor, the net increase stands at 4 percent, which is still higher than the average pay rise in Hong Kong as a whole," she said.
"This is something we are happy to see, as the phenomenon of loss of jobs and excessively low wages that we feared did not happen."
Many older people have been motivated to find jobs and have succeeded in finding one, she said.
In the three months from May, the number of workers aged 50-59 rose by about 23,600 while those aged over 60 increased by 8,000, compared with the previous quarter, she said.
The wage commission is collecting additional information for further analysis and will submit a report, with recommendations, to the chief executive no later than November, 2012.
Since the implementation of the city's first-ever minimum wage law, employment and compliance of the law by employers has been smooth, on the whole, Jat said.