Construction Workers Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 gazetted

The Construction Workers Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 was gazetted today (April 17). The Bill seeks to facilitate the implementation of the remaining phase of Prohibition under the Construction Workers Registration Ordinance (Cap 583) (CWRO) (i.e. the part of "designated workers for designated skills") in order to fully launch the construction workers registration scheme.

"The principal objectives of the CWRO are to ensure the quality of construction works, raise the professional status of construction workers, foster a quality culture in the construction industry, and ensure the availability of more reliable data on labour supply to facilitate manpower planning and training. The full launch of the workers registration scheme under the CWRO will be a key milestone in the long-term development of the construction industry. We hope this could attract more people to join the industry, especially young people," a Development Bureau spokesman said.

Upon the implementation of the "designated workers for designated skills" provision, workers would be forbidden from undertaking construction works of trades unless they are relevant trade-registered workers or under the instruction and supervision of the relevant trade-registered workers. Nevertheless, an exemption arrangement will be provided for workers carrying out "emergency construction works" and "small scale construction works" under specified conditions.

"To ensure smooth transition of senior workers, the Bill will introduce a one-off grandfathering arrangement for workers having not less than 10 years' relevant working experience to register as registered skilled workers under specified conditions. The 'designated workers for designated skills' provision will also be implemented two years following the commencement of the legislative amendments to allow sufficient time for workers to register.

"In addition, to facilitate gradual adaption of the industry to the requirement, major works will be regulated first, leaving the maintenance works under term contract and minor construction works to be regulated at a later stage," the spokesman said.

Other key amendments to the CWRO under the Bill include:

* modifying the basis of registration to allow workers to register according to their respective modular skills;
* introducing the "master skilled worker" to encourage workers to acquire multi-skills to enhance employability, and flexibility of manpower deployment in the industry;
* allowing registered skilled workers of selected skills to carry out works of other similar skills;
* requiring contractors to provide accurate daily attendance records of workers for more effective manpower planning and training;
* extending the validity period of registration to alleviate workers' burden for card renewal; and
* including amendments to relevant ordinances to recognise the registration card issued under the CWRO as valid proof of possession of other construction-related cards in order to reduce the number of cards that a worker needs to carry at work.

The Phase One Prohibition under the CWRO was implemented on September 1, 2007, forbidding unregistered construction workers from carrying out construction works on construction sites. As workers possessing a "Green Card" can register as a "registered general worker" to satisfy the requirement of the Phase One Prohibition, the relevant stakeholders can in general meet the requirement.

"We have conducted thorough consultation with the relevant stakeholders including labour unions and trade associations since 2010 in finalising the current proposed amendments," the spokesman said.

The Bill will be introduced to the Legislative Council on April 30. A brief on the Bill is available at the Development Bureau's website:

Ends/Thursday, April 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:59