Employment and Labour Practices
It is the policy of HKEX to recruit the best qualified people and to maintain a pool of human resources according to the manpower requirement and planning of HKEX. It is also the policy of HKEX to transfer or promote well performing and capable employees to fill vacancies so that employees are provided with opportunities to widen their exposure and further their career development within HKEX. Job applicants are treated fairly and equally. Employment is offered only to the best qualified applicants with reference to their merits and abilities to meet the requirements of the jobs irrespective of whether they are referrals or direct applicants. All employment with HKEX is voluntary and HKEX strictly complies with the applicable employment laws and does not employ any child labour. The Human Resources Department provides recruitment advice and services to all Divisions/Departments and is responsible for the entire process leading to employment. The Group has not identified any operations that constitute risk to the right to exercise freedom of association or collective bargaining.
HKEX is committed to providing a fair and competitive compensation package in the form of basic salary, incentive pay (discretionary performance bonus and share award), provident fund, and other fringe benefits, such as healthcare benefits (eg, medical and dental insurance and personal accident and life insurance), paid leave for various purposes (eg, annual leave, maternity/paternity leave, marriage leave, employee volunteering leave, sick leave, examination leave, compassionate leave and birthday leave), and education and training sponsorship. HKEX’s minimum salary, converted into an hourly estimate, is higher than the statutory minimum wage rate in Hong Kong. Details of HKEX’s remuneration policy, pay review exercise and remuneration packages for Board members and employees are available on the HKEX Group website and in the annual Remuneration Committee Report.
Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The Group builds confidence in its markets by maintaining high standards of integrity and professionalism among its employees. The Code of Conduct set out in the Human Resources Manual (see Key Policies and Guidelines for HKEX Employees) provides guidance on the ethical responsibilities and legal obligations of HKEX's employees to ensure their professionalism, high ethical standards, integrity and honesty, which are crucial for HKEX in pursuing and maintaining its regulatory role in the securities market. The Code of Conduct is updated from time to time to promptly reflect prevailing laws and other relevant regulations that employees ought to be aware of and comply with. Any non-compliance with the Code of Conduct may result in summary dismissal. The application of the Code of Conduct is monitored through declarations made by employees (eg, the declaration of their securities holdings) and staff complaints received. A Group Whistleblowing Policy is in place to facilitate reporting of employees’ misconduct.
A Group Personal Account Dealing Policy is in place to set out the obligations of the Group’s employees and the procedures that must be followed when trading securities (in particular HKEX shares), futures contracts and derivatives. The Policy aims to ensure that the trading, purchasing and selling of all securities, futures contracts and derivatives that are listed and/or traded for the employee’s own account or for the account of a related person or entity if the employee controls, materially influences, and/or has sole discretion to operate, does not breach insider dealing laws.
Human Rights, Diversity and Equal Opportunities
The Group is committed to protecting human rights in the workplace, as guided by internationally accepted principles such as those in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Codes of Practice on Employment as promulgated by the Equal Opportunities Commission in Hong Kong. The Group considers that it does not operate in circumstances and environments with high exposure to risk concerning human rights. Nonetheless, as stated in the HKEX’s CSR Manual, guidelines on human rights are developed with reference to the “Human Rights Issues” under ISO 26000 and the UN Global Compact with focus on the areas including risk identification and due diligence, resolving grievances, and discrimination and rights at work.
Employees’ freedom of speech and association are respected as long as they are within legal boundaries. The Group strongly opposes any discrimination on the grounds of age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, family status, disability, race, nationality or religion. The Group believes that workplace diversity, including diversity in leadership, helps increase employee morale and effectiveness and enhances creativity and unity within the organisation. HKEX advocates diversity at the Board level and the workplace for the purposes of attaining sustainable and balanced development. A Board Diversity Policy, with the aim of enhancing the quality of the Board’s performance by diversity, was adopted in February 2013. Details of the composition of the Board are set out in the Corporate Governance Report.
Both legal and socio-economic environments in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom (UK) provide opportunities for gender equity in the workforce. In Hong Kong, the Equal Opportunities Commission administers the laws protecting gender equality. In the UK, the Women’s Business Council advises the government on ways of maximizing women’s contribution to economic growth and assesses priorities in removing the barriers that women face in playing a full part in the workplace. It is also the Group’s policy to compensate employees equitably, including providing equal remuneration for women and men.
Procedures are in place to handle employees’ grievances and complaints to ensure fair treatment of all employees when their concerns are being addressed. HKEX’s Equal Opportunities Policy and grievance policy and procedures are stipulated in the Human Resources Manual (see Key Policies and Guidelines for HKEX Employees).
Relevant training, such as anti-discrimination talks conducted by the Equal Opportunities Commission, is organised from time to time to equip employees with practical knowledge of upholding human rights and equal opportunities at the workplace so as to minimise the risk of violating the various discrimination ordinances and ensure the application of transparency and fairness throughout the workplace, including the recruitment process.
Training and Development
The Group encourages and supports all employees to reach their full potential through continuous training and development. The training covers a range of topics including the Group’s products and services, the latest development of markets, relevant rules, regulations and best practice standards, managerial, language and technical skills, and personal effectiveness and career development. Employees can attend in-house training courses, participate in e-learning programmes and enrol in external academic programmes (eg, tertiary degrees earned from recognised education institutes or certifications by relevant professional associations) and training seminars for which sponsorship is available. To improve the quality of training and effectiveness of instructors, participants’ feedback and recommendations on training programs are solicited by means of assessment forms.
HKEX runs a Management Trainee Programme with the goal of nurturing bright and young talent and grooming them into future leaders. The Programme is an intensive development programme combining interactive learning, personal and group coaching and senior management exposure with on-the-job training. As a result, management trainees will develop a spectrum of experience, an open mind and a broad understanding of different aspects of HKEX's business and management.
The annual performance appraisal is an interactive exercise conducted for all permanent employees. The exercise involves appraising past performance, reviewing the employee’s personal and career development status and training progress, and setting work objectives and improvement goals. Workshops are organised in preparation for the performance appraisal exercise with the aim of facilitating open and effective communication between supervisors and subordinates when discussing work objectives and performance.
There is no specific arrangement for those employees who are due to retire or whose employment is subject to termination. Nonetheless, the Group’s employees can contact the Human Resources Department at any time for matters in relation to their retirement and post-retirement employment.
Employee engagement is a critical factor for achieving the Group’s principles of caring about employees’ welfare and satisfaction and strengthening team collaboration. Hence, the Group aims to promote team solidarity and ensure open and transparent communication.
The Group will inform its employees of any operational changes or development of the Group as soon as it considers appropriate in terms of the nature and importance of the information and does not set any minimum period of notice for different kinds of notifications. Staff announcements are posted on the intranet for employees’ information. Important information about the Group, such as the latest strategic directions, business and operational developments, and financial performance, are communicated via a number of efficient and effective channels within the Group (eg, management offsite meetings, weekly senior management meetings, monthly executive forums, and quarterly employee briefings by HKEX’s Chief Executive). Employee engagement surveys are conducted biennially to solicit feedback and to gauge the level of satisfaction and motivation of employees. Workshops and training courses are organised regularly to equip employees with good communication and interpersonal skills to build teamwork and cooperation, and to provide useful tips on cooperating with supervisors to achieve common goals.
Occupational Health and Safety
HKEX is committed to achieving a high standard of occupational safety and health as set out in its Occupational Safety and Health Policy and Smoke-Free Workplace Policy which are included in the HKEX Human Resources Manual (see Key Policies and Guidelines for HKEX Employees). In view of the Group’s business nature, it does not consider any employees who are involved in occupational activities that have a high incidence or high risk of specific diseases.
Any issues in relation to the occupational health and safety of the Group will be brought to the ESG Committee by the Chief Executive as and when necessary. At the LME, a health and safety report is reviewed by its Executive Committee which comprises a number of senior executives, including the LME’s chief executive. At HKEX, the Human Resources Department and the Corporate Services Department oversee the occupational safety and health matters of the Group. Occupational health and safety-related accidents in the workplace have to be reported to the Human Resources Department. While a formal joint management-worker committee specific to occupational health and safety was not set up within the Group, the above mentioned structures ensure that the employees within the Group can raise any occupational health and safety-related issues, including training programmes, through different channels from time to time. There are no formal agreements with any trade unions covering occupational health and safety.
HKEX has engaged external professional service providers to support employees at work and outside work through the Employee Assistance Programme. The programme includes a 24-hour hotline, face-to-face counselling, clinical psychology service and critical incident management service which aims to help employees resolve personal issues that may adversely impact their work performance, attendance, and/or conduct, and to provide a mechanism for handling employee grievances.
To promote healthy lifestyles, prevent illness and enhance quality of life among employees, HKEX from time to time organises workshops and talks on health and wellness topics under its Employee Wellness Programme. The Human Resources Department also issues notices/guidelines to staff to draw their attention to public health issues such as seasonal influenza for maintenance of a healthy working environment.
Good indoor air quality (IAQ) in offices safeguards the health of our employees and contributes to their comfort and well-being. In this respect, HKEX has undertaken annual IAQ inspection and certification for all offices in Hong Kong since 2009 under the IAQ Certification Scheme launched by the Hong Kong Government. All offices in Hong Kong have achieved either Excellent Class or Good Class certification.
HKEX has incorporated OHSAS 18001 Safety Management System into the Integrated Management System (IMS) Manual and IMS Procedure Manual for its Data Centre at Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong. The Data Centre passed the certification audit in September 2014.
Flexibility in the hours of work applies to all HKEX employees. Employees may adopt flexible office hours depending on the job requirements and subject to Head of Division/Department’s approval.
HKEX has run the Back to Work Programme since 2013 to help high-calibre candidates to return to their careers after taking time off to raise their families. The programme aims to prepare participants for returning to full time employment and includes a company orientation and on-the-job placement to one of the company’s functional areas. To further secure the right of HKEX’s female employees who are working-mothers, HKEX has established nursing rooms at various new offices in Hong Kong, providing space and ensuring their privacy.
With the Company’s financial support, HKEX’s Staff Social Club and the LME's Sports and Social Committee organise a host of sports, recreational and social activities, with the aim of enhancing work-life balance, personal development and sense of belonging among employees. Other than interest groups, such as the parental club and dance club, various sports teams such as the soccer, basketball, running, table tennis and badminton teams have been formed.