Intern Minimum Wage Exemption in Hong Kong – Student Employees Must Know

Intern Minimum Wage Exemption in Hong KongThe Minimum Wage Ordinance in Hong Kong is applicable to every employee, except in the case of interns or students who are exempted. The intern minimum wage exemption in Hong Kong exempts student employees under the Minimum Wage Ordinance (Cap. 608). Under this exemption, student interns and work experience students with no employment relationship to the host company or organisation are exempted. This will not apply if the student with work experience has not come to an agreement with the employer to treat a certain period as a period of exemption from student employment.

 

Requirements for Student Intern Minimum Wage Exemption in Hong Kong

Student interns and work experience students in Hong Kong must fulfil the following exemption criteria for the Statutory Minimum Wage:

For student interns:

  • No age restriction
  • Duration of internship has no restriction
  • Internship must be a compulsory or elective component of the program
  • Internship must be endorsed or arranged by the educational institutions
  • Student employees must be enrolled in full-time accredited programmes by a local educational institution specified in Schedule 1 to the Minimum Wage Ordinance; or
  • Must be resident in Hong Kong and enrolled full-time in educational programmes for non-local academic qualification at a degree level or higher

For work experience students:

  • Must be below the age of 26-years at the start of employment.
  • Does not necessarily need to be curriculum-related.
  • Does not necessarily need to be arranged or endorsed by the educational institution.
  • Must agree with the employer to treat a continuous period of up to 59 days as exempt student employment.
  • One period of exempt student employment may commence in the same calendar year at most (regardless if this is with the same employer or not). Student employees must make a statutory declaration verifying this face and provide a copy of this declaration to the employer.
  • Student employees must be enrolled in full-time accredited programmes by a local educational institution specified in Schedule 1 to the Minimum Wage Ordinance; or
  • Must be resident in Hong Kong and enrolled full-time in educational programmes for non-local academic qualification at a degree level or higher.

 

Specification of Schedule 1 To the Minimum Wage Ordinance

Under Schedule 1 of the Minimum Wage Ordinance in Hong Kong, the following local education institutions in Hong Kong are included:

  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • University of Hong Kong
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong Baptist University
  • City University of Hong Kong
  • The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
  • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • The Open University of Hong Kong
  • Lingnan University
  • Approved post-secondary colleges registered under the Post-Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap. 320)
  • Bodies established under the Vocational Training Council Ordinance (Cap. 1130)
  • Schools registered or provisionally registered under the Education Ordinance (Cap. 279)

 

What Employers Need to Know

An employer in Hong Kong taking on student employees will be required to keep the following records as per the Employment Ordinance (Cap 57):

Records kept for student interns:

  • Document (or a copy of it) issued by the educational institution which shows the work period is arranged and endorsed by the institution in connection with a program offered at the institution. This must be covered as per the definition of “student intern” under the Minimum Wage Ordinance Section 2.

Records kept for work experience students:

  • Document (or copy of it) issued by the educational institution which shows the student is enrolled in a programme being provided by the institution at the time of commencement. This must be covered as per the definition of “work experience student” under the Minimum Wage Ordinance Section 2.
  • Statutory declaration (or a copy of it) given by the work experience student that verifies they have not commenced another exempt student employment period within the same calendar year.

The Employment Ordinance requires that an employer keep these business records at the place of business for a 6-month period after the student employee ceases their employment.