The Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board (the “MECAB”), which adjudicates minor employment claims, provides easy and cost-efficient recourse to certain claims arising from employment-related disputes, including the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57 of the Laws of Hong Kong). Like Labour Tribunal claims, no legal representation is allowed before the MECAB, and the parties are required to conduct the case themselves, although legal assistance may be obtained “behind the scene”. Claims before the MECAB are heard by an Adjudication Officer in public, whose awards or orders are legally binding.
Effective from 17 September 2021, the jurisdictional limit of the MECAB for claims which arose on or after 17 September 2021 has been increased from HK$8,000 to HK$15,000 per claimant1. Up to a maximum of 10 claimants for a claim amount of not more than HK$15,000 per claimant arising out of the right of action may be filed in the same claim. Representative claims are also permitted, such that one person may represent not more than 5 persons for claims against the same defendant.
It is anticipated that the increase in MECAB’s jurisdictional limit will lead to a rise in the MECAB’s caseload, and help ease traffic at the Labour Tribunal. Simple claims which fall within the MECAB’s jurisdiction, for example, disputes on holiday, annual leave or sick leave entitlements and payment on termination of employment not exceeding HK$15,000, can be handled quickly and economically.
1 The MECAB’s jurisdictional limit for claims which arose before 17 September 2021 remains HK$8,000 per claimant.