News
Publications //
Submitted by // K Bowers, Partner/Solicitor Advocate; M Withington, Partner
23 May 2018

 

ILO Lawmakers building HK$1 million safety net for policyholders

Click here to see the International Law Office Article

› read more
› minimize
News //
Submitted by // K Bowers, Partner / Solicitor Advocate; P Yeung, Partner
23 May 2018

 

Not only is it anti-competitive, it's illegal! 

On 9 April 2018, the Competition Commission issued an advisory bulletin on the potential risks that could arise under the Competition Ordinance (Cap 619) in the employment context. 

Employment Marketplace

It is the Competition Commission's view that Hong Kong's free market economy depends on a healthy competitive environment, whereby employees benefit from competitive rivalry in the marketplace (just as consumers do). Competition among employers to hire employees often leads to better employment terms such as higher salaries and better benefits, thereby leading to increased opportunities for employees.

Contravention of the First Conduct Rule

The Competition Commission considered that employers are more likely to breach the First Conduct Rule of the Competition Ordinance. Specifically, the First Conduct Rule prohibits anti-competitive agreements, under which market participants collude with their competitors on key competitive parameters. Employers should therefore refrain from entering into an agreement or engaging in concerted practices regarding terms of employment or hiring of employees.

The Competition Commission has identified the following practices between employers as being at risk of contravening the First Conduct Rule:

(1) Wage-fixing agreements: Employers that have an agreement on any element of compensation for employees are fixing the price of labour. The definition of compensation is not limited to salaries, but also other benefits and allowances that may be offered to employees.

(2) Non-poaching agreements: Employers that have an agreement in relation to the solicitation or hiring of each other's employees. An example given by the Competition Commission is an agreement between employers to refuse to hire each other's employees.

(3) Exchange of sensitive information: The sharing of competitively sensitive information between employers about their intentions regarding employees' compensation or hiring, be it reciprocal or unilateral, and whether done directly or through a third party.

In accordance with the Commission's guidelines, the term "agreement" is defined broadly and can include any arrangement, understanding, promise or undertaking, whether express or implied, written or oral, and whether or not enforceable or intended to be enforceable by legal proceedings.

Contravention of the First Conduct Rule could result in financial penalties (as high as 10% of the company's turnover for a maximum of three years), director disqualification orders, or other sanctions.

Practical considerations

To ensure compliance with the Competition Ordinance, employers should independently determine their hiring and compensation policies. Human Resources personnel should avoid communicating with other employers in this regard or coming to any form of an agreement or understanding that would restrict competition amongst the employers. They should also avoid sharing any kind of information as to their future intentions with respect to salaries and benefits. Information in relation to employment practices, compensation and benefits should be kept entirely confidential.

The Competition Commission encourages all parties to report suspected anti-competitive arrangements related to employment. 


About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; and financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

› read more
› minimize

 

Howse Williams Bowers ("HWB"), a leading Hong Kong independent law firm, acted as the legal adviser to the sole sponsor and the underwriters in relation to the approximately HK$66.0 million share offer and listing of Elegance Commercial and Financial Printing Group Limited (Stock Code: 8391) ("Elegance") on GEM of the Stock Exchange. VBG Capital Limited acted as the sole sponsor while VBG Capital Limited and Quasar Securities Co., Limited acted as the joint lead managers. The shares commenced trading on GEM of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 11 May 2018.

Elegance is an established printing service provider which principally provides commercial printing and financial printing services in Hong Kong. It ranked second among commercial printing service providers in Hong Kong in terms of revenue for the year ended 31 March 2017.

The HWB team, led by partner Chia Ching Tan, had lead responsibility in the verification process, legal documentation, corporate and regulatory issues and general transaction management.


About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; intellectual property; banking; financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

 
› read more
› minimize
News //
Submitted by // H Rogers, COO
02 May 2018


HWB is delighted to announce that Patricia Yeung and Eviana Leung became partners of the firm with effect from 1 May 2018.

Patricia Yeung: Patricia has focused on employment law since qualifying as a solicitor. Patricia advises employers and employees on all aspects of employment law, with an emphasis on contentious matters (particularly in the financial services sector). She is ranked by Legal 500 as a Next Generation Lawyer (2017) and by Chambers Asia as an Associate to Watch (2015-2017). Patricia is also listed in the Labour and Employment section of Who's Who Legal (2017-2018).


Patricia Yeung
T +852 2803 3748
F +852 2803 3608


Eviana Leung: Eviana has experience in both contentious and non-contentious maritime, commercial, contractual and international trade matters with a particular emphasis on marine policy coverage disputes. She acts for more than 10 marine liability insurers and is known within the marine insurance circle as a solution-driven lawyer who provides sound practical advice. 

Eviana Leung
T +852 2803 3687
F +852 2803 3608

 

Patricia and Eviana's promotion brings the total number of HWB partners to 25. The firm also has 4 senior consultants. Total headcount is approximately 180.

 

About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; and financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

 

› read more
› minimize