The University of Hong Kong

Notes for the information of applicants for senior posts

1.        Higher Education in Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong, established in 1911, was for many years the only higher learning institution in Hong Kong, but there are now nine institutions of higher education (The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, Hong Kong Institute of Education, and Hong Kong Shue Yan University), all of which (with the except of Hong Kong Shue Yan University) receive part of their income from public funds, distributed through the medium of the Government's University Grants Committee. There are also a distance learning organization (The Open University) and a degree validating body (the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation).

2.        The University
The University operates on a Faculty structure with ten Faculties (Architecture, Arts, Business and Economics, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science, and Social Sciences) and a number of ancillary departments/centres/units. Centres of excellence have been established in a variety of specialist and inter-disciplinary fields to enhance collaborative research.

3.        The Staff
As at June 1, 2014, there were 1,766 teachers and senior staff of equivalent grade on the strength. Of these, 1,610 were on Terms of Service I and 156 were on 'Clinical Medical Staff' terms; 1,100 were men and 666 were women.

The University is committed to a policy of non-discrimination and regularly reviews its human resources policies to this effect. In particular, it adopts a policy of equal employment opportunities for persons with a disability.

4.        Recruitment
The University recruits the majority of its senior staff by international advertisement, and seeks to make the best appointment to any vacancy without reference to either ethnic origin or gender.

International recruitment follows due process as prescribed by the University Council. Applicants may be asked to approach their referees who should write directly to the University to provide a confidential reference, and shortlisted applicants may be assessed by independent experts in the field. The University then considers the assessments; interviews shortlisted applicants; sometimes arranges for candidates to fly in; and finally makes the appointment. Every effort is made to complete this procedure, and to notify applicants of the outcome, as quickly as possible, but some delays are unavoidable given the process and the considerable degree of international communications. We seek your patience in this regard.

5.        Academic Ranks
The University has adopted a three-tier system of academic ranks comprising Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor. For world-class scholars with distinctive accomplishments, the title of Chair Professor may be conferred on the basis of personal merit subsequent to a rigorous assessment process. In addition to the Chair Professor title, Endowed Professorships and Named Professorships, supported by endowments and donations, are established by the University from time to time.

6.        Duration of Appointment
Teaching appointments are normally made for a fixed period, with a taxable contract-end gratuity plus the University's contribution to a retirement benefits scheme, totalling up to 15% of basic salary, or in exceptional cases for senior positions, on tenure terms. Although the formal retirement date is June 30 following the appointee's 60th birthday, there are also procedures in place for extending an appointment beyond the formal retirement age.

7.        Salary
Each rank has a salary range. The entry salary for the rank is determined in accordance with qualifications and experience. Salary adjustments are normally awarded annually on July 1 upon a review, until the maximum of the range is reached.

8.        Mandatory Provident Fund
The Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme is a retirement protection scheme for the entire working population in Hong Kong. Except for certain exempt persons as stipulated in the MPF Schemes Ordinance, the MPF scheme covers all employees aged between 18 and 65 who have completed 60 days of employment. Under the MPF, the employer and the employee will each be required to contribute 5% of the employee's relevant income in each month, capped at HK$1,500 per month each. All contributions required to be made to the MPF scheme by the appointee will be deducted from the appointee's salary/honorarium by the University and paid to the trustee of the MPF scheme.

An appointee who needs to apply for an employment visa to work in Hong Kong will be exempt from the application of the MPF Schemes Ordinance during the first thirteen months of his/her permitted period of stay in Hong Kong. Thereafter, the appointee will be required to enrol in the MPF scheme, unless he/she remains an exempt person as defined in the Ordinance. An appointee who is holding an employment visa and is a member of a provident, pension, retirement or superannuation scheme established outside Hong Kong will also be exempt from joining the MPF scheme.

9.        Superannuation
Appointees on tenure terms may opt to join the contributing superannuation scheme, viz. the Staff Provident Fund. Rates of contribution are 5% of salary (plus a nominal amount for insurance) for employee, 15% employer. The scheme provides members with a lump sum on retirement or resignation.

10.       Conditions of Service
Teachers and appointees to senior non teaching posts of equivalent grade are normally appointed on Terms of Service I, which provide certain benefits to the appointee and his/her family. These benefits are briefly described in the following paragraphs.

Appointments to clinical posts in the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine will normally be made on Terms of Service I (Clinical Medical Staff), the conditions of which are designed to parallel those offered by the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong. In brief, these terms provide a monthly cash allowance in lieu of the fringe benefits described below offered under Terms of Service I. The cash allowance is provided in addition to basic salary and subject to the Rules of Prevention of Double Benefits on Housing. In respect of fixed-term appointments, the cash allowance itself does not attract a contract-end gratuity. In addition, clinical medical staff are eligible for a cash allowance of 5% of basic salary or the maximum point of the equivalent Housing Authority Salary Scale, whichever is less, subject to the Rules of Prevention of Double Benefits on Housing. Entitlement to paid annual leave is 22 or 26 working days per year, depending on length of service with the University.

11.       Relocation Assistance
On first appointment, an appointee on Terms of Service I who has been residing outside Hong Kong (excluding China, Macau SAR and Taiwan) for a consecutive period of 12 months or more before coming to Hong Kong to take up the offer of appointment may be provided with a one-way relocation passage for himself/herself and his/her family (legally married spouse and dependent children), for up to a maximum of 5 adult passages (not including that for the appointee himself/herself) and a baggage allowance, provided that he/she is not eligible for such benefits from another source.

12.       Housing benefits
For Professoriate Staff:
An Assistant Professor will be provided with a non-accountable but fully taxable cash allowance (NCA) of HK$12,000 per month.

An Associate Professor will be eligible for temporary University accommodation, subject to availability and a rental payment of 10% of basic monthly salary, for the first contract up to three years, followed by an NCA of HK$15,000 per month (or a switch to NCA can be made anytime during the 3-year temporary University accommodation period). Alternatively, an Associate Professor may opt for an NCA of HK$15,000 per month.

A Professor will be eligible for either University accommodation, subject to availability and a rental charge of 10% of basic monthly salary OR an NCA of HK$20,000 per month.

For Clinical Professoriate Staff:
A staff member appointed under Terms of Service I (Clinical Medical Staff) will be provided with a monthly cash allowance, subject to the Prevention of Double Housing Benefits Rules.

For Academic-related Staff:
A non-accountable but fully taxable monthly cash allowance (NCA) may be provided where applicable.

For Professional and Senior Administrative Staff:
A staff member appointed under Band H or Band I of the broadbanding structure will be provided with a non-accountable but fully taxable cash allowance (NCA) of HK$12,000 and HK$15,000 per month respectively. A staff member appointed under Band J will be eligible for either University accommodation, subject to availability and a rental charge of 10% of basic monthly salary, OR an NCA of HK$20,000 per month.

The above housing benefits are subject to review and the entitlements are subject to the Rules of Prevention of Double Benefits on Housing.

13.       Leave
Appointees on Terms of Service I are entitled to 22 working days of annual leave per year during their first ten years of service, and thereafter 26 days per year. In addition, sabbatical leave, which accrues at the rate of one sixth of the period of service which precedes it, may be granted to a teacher on application not sooner than three years after assumption of duty on first appointment, or after return to duty from a period of such leave. Sabbatical leave, which is designed to provide teachers with a period free of other duties to concentrate on 'contribution to scholarship', is not an entitlement.

14.       Health Care
Comprehensive primary health care and other services are provided for staff and their dependants under the University Staff Medical Benefits Scheme through an on-campus clinic operated by the University and a panel of private doctors. The primary care services offered by the clinic are largely free, but charges are levied for all dental consultations. The University is a smoke-free campus.

15.       Dependants
Where benefits are provided for dependants, these comprise the spouse, and children subject to a more detailed definition in each case. Please note that for the purpose of providing benefits, the University recognizes only a spouse to whom the appointee is legally married, that is, not a 'common law' or 'de facto' spouse.

16.       Staff Development
Teachers are expected to undertake research and various funds are available to which they may apply for research grants. A Government fund for large research projects is open to annual competition by staff of all the tertiary education institutions in Hong Kong. University funds are available for less expensive projects and there are also numerous donated research funds, usually for specific disciplines. The University supports (with both leave and some passage assistance) attendance at conferences overseas; and there is provision for staff to take sabbatical or professional leave. Teachers may engage in 'outside practice' subject to certain regulations.

17.       Computer Network
The University has a well-developed campus computer network that links together all of the main offices and buildings throughout the University. Through the network, all staff members will have easy access to the computer and information resources available on campus, as well as access to other academic institutions world-wide through the internet.

18.       Further Information
Information about the University is available online at http://www.hku.hk/. Enquiries may be directed to the University either by mail [Senior Assistant Registrar (Appointments), Human Resource Section, Registry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong] or fax [no. (852) 2540 6735] or e-mail [apptunit@hku.hk].

These notes are only a summary and do not purport to explain the full details of any contractual provision. Furthermore, the University reserves the right to make changes and exceptions at any time. New appointees are advised to read their own contracts with care.

 

Human Resource Section
The Registry
June 2014