EOC Partners with the Business Community to Launch Compliance Kit for SMEs
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (25 July 2003) in partnership with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) organized a seminar on current equal opportunities laws for SMEs to introduce the "EO Essentials Kit for SMEs" (the Kit).
EOC Chairperson, Ms. Anna WU, explained the need for the seminar and the Kit. “Last summer, we released survey findings on equity compliance in business. The results showed that SME operators, who may not have the resources or infrastructure to take the necessary steps to comply, wanted information provided to them about their obligations under the anti-discrimination laws in a clear, concise and easy to follow format. And this is where the EOC can help, in response to these very clear messages, the EOC has developed the Equal Opportunity Essentials Kit for SMEs, a free self-help guide on compliance. We realize that many businesses in Hong Kong are facing difficult times, and our Essentials Kit will assist SMEs understand their obligations under the existing anti-discrimination laws, at no extra cost. I am pleased that we have been able to enlist the support of our partners in the business sector. In today's seminar, we shall explain how the Kit works for SMEs in the real life work environment.”
In his welcoming remarks, Dr Eden WOON, HKGCC's CEO expressed his support toward the three anti-discrimination ordinances. “Equal opportunity is about getting the best person for the job and creating a work environment with mutual respect. This enables every staff to work harmoniously in his or her environment so as to improve work stability and in the end every one can profit from it, including the company. Equal opportunity can also promote innovation, open new markets and enhance customer service and satisfaction. On the other hand, our SMEs are fighting hard to survive under the current economic situation. Too much legislation will impose additional resources on their operations. We believe by means of education to influence the general public to build up a good sense of awareness is effective to maintain EO in the workplace. The business sector believes that it's important to strike a balance between legislation and reality,” said Dr WOON.
Representatives of SMEs from different industries participated in the design of the Kit, which was extensively tested by focus groups. Comments from end users have been positive.
“The sample procedures for handling EO related problems were most helpful. It is easily adaptable and I can apply it to my business anytime,” was a comment received from an owner of a travel agency.
A retailer, another SME employer said, “The Checklist enabled me to find out how well my business was meeting its obligations under the anti-discrimination law. For areas that still need some improvement, the tools inside the Kit can help me implement EO effectively.”
“The FAQ section of the Kit which gives real life cases is very informative. Now I can better understand an employer's liability and the necessary steps to follow,” an administrative officer of a printing house said.
Ms. Anna WU expressed her thanks to major business groups which had rendered support in promoting the Kit and the concept of equal opportunities to SMEs. Apart from the HKGCC, these include the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Human Resource Management and the Hong Kong Productivity Council.
For a free copy of the EO Essentials Kit for SMEs please call the EOC hotline at 25118211, or click to the EOC website http://www.eoc.org.hk/CE/sme/index.htm.
Enquiry: Mr. Sam HO 21062187