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Home > Administration of the civil service >> Retirement

Post-service Outside Work

(A) General

Post Service refers to the time after civil servants have ceased active duty. Outside work refers to paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time appointment, employment or any other work. It includes entering into business on one’s own account, becoming a partner in a partnership, becoming an executive or non-executive director of a company, becoming an employee, etc. Re-employment with the Government or appointment to a government advisory board/committee is not regarded as outside work.

To maintain the integrity and standing of the Civil Service, it is important that civil servants on final leave and former civil servants should continue to act with good sense and propriety when pursuing post-service outside work as their actions will be seen by the public as a reflection of the culture and character of the Civil Service. They should avoid work which might be construed as being in conflict with their previous duties in the Government, or might bring the Civil Service into disrepute or cause public controversy.

Different control regimes on post-service outside work have been laid down for civil servants on final leave and former civil servants, having regard to their seniority when serving in the Civil Service. In general, the shorter the interval from cessation of active duty, the greater the control is on post-service outside work; and senior civil servants are subject to longer restriction periods than junior civil servants.

The control regimes are underpinned by two principles, namely protection of the public interest and protection of an individual’s right to work. The particular public interest to be protected under the control regime is public trust in the Government, good governance, and integrity and impartiality of the Civil Service. Protection of such public interest will only take precedence over protection of an individual’s right to work where there is compelling reason justifying so doing in a particular case.

The policy objective of the control regimes, formulated with regard to the aforementioned underlying principles, is to ensure that during the specified restriction periods-

  1. civil servants on final leave and former civil servants will not take up work which may:
    1. constitute real or potential conflict of interest with their former government duties, or
    2. cause well-founded negative public perception embarrassing the Government and undermining the image of the Civil Service, or give rise to reasonable apprehension of deferred reward or benefit by a fair-minded and informed observer after having considered the relevant facts;
  2. the said individuals' right to work after ceasing government service will not be duly restricted; and
  3. the attractiveness of the Civil Service as a career will not be adversely affected and limited human resources will be put to good use.

During the specified restriction periods, civil servants on final leave or former civil servants are required to apply for prior permission from the relevant authority before they may take up post-service outside work, save for unpaid work with specified non-commercial organisations, namely (a) charitable, academic or other non-profit making organisations not primarily engaged in commercial operations; (b) non-commercial regional or international organisations; or (c) the Central Authorities of the People’s Republic of China. However, the said individuals are required to notify the relevant authority by completing and returning the prescribed form before taking up such work.

(B) Directorate Civil Servants

Directorate civil servants on final leave or former directorate civil servants are required to apply for prior permission from the authority (namely Secretary for the Civil Service) if they wish to take up post-service outside work (other than that covered by the blanket permission above) during the specified periods of restriction (namely final leave period, and/or minimum sanitisation period and/or control period). The authority will decide on each application, having regard to concerns over conflict of interest and public perception and after taking account the assessment within the Administration and the advice tendered by the independent Advisory Committee on Post-service Employment of Civil Servants. An application may be granted with conditions, or rejected.

Detailed arrangements for the control regime in respect of directorate civil servants (a) on pensionable/new permanent terms and cease active duty on or after 1 September 2011; or (b) on agreement terms and enter into new or renewal agreements on or after 1 September 2011 are set out in CSB Circular No. 7/2011, and the various forms specified in that circular are appended below -

  1. Application Form for permission to take up outside work (Form CSB/PSW/3(9/2011)) (PDF / DOC Format)
  2. Notification Form on outside work involving duties outside Hong Kong (Form CSB/PSW/1(9/2011)) (PDF / DOC Format)
  3. Notification Form on unpaid outside work with specified non-commercial organisations (Form CSB/PSW/2(9/2011)) (PDF / DOC Format)

Detailed arrangements for the control regime in respect of directorate civil servants (a) on pensionable or new permanent terms and ceased active duty from 1 January 2006 to 31 August 2011; or (b) on agreement terms and entered into new or renewal agreements from 1 January 2006 to 31 August 2011 are set out in CSB Circular No. 10/2005, and the various forms specified in that circular are appended below -

  1. Application Form for permission to take up outside work (Form CSB/PSE/1(12/2005)) (PDF / DOC Format)
  2. Notification Form on paid outside work undertaken outside Hong Kong (Form CSB/PSE/2(12/2005)) (PDF / DOC Format)
  3. Notification Form on unpaid outside work with specified non-commercial organisations (Form CSB/PSE/3(12/2005)) (PDF / DOC Format)

(C) Non-Directorate Civil Servants

Non-directorate civil servants (other than those remunerated on the Model Scale 1 Pay Scale) retiring on pensionable terms on final leave and former retired non-directorate civil servants are required to apply for prior permission from the authority (namely the relevant Head of Department/Grade) if they wish to take up post-service outside work (other than that covered by the blanket permission above) during the final leave period and/or control period.

Detailed arrangements are set out in CSB Circular No. 13/95, and the application form specified in that circular (Form CSB/PRA/1(Revised 12/2005)) is attached (PDF / DOC Format). The notification form on unpaid outside work with specified non-commercial organisations (Form CSB/PSE/3(12/2005)) (PDF / DOC Format) is also attached.

Blanket permission is given to all non-directorate civil servants remunerated on the Model Scale 1 Pay Scale to take up any post-service outside work during their final leave period and after leaving the Government.

(D) Public Register

The basic information of approved and taken-up post-service outside work by individual directorate civil servants on final leave and former directorate civil servants is kept on a register for public inspection, until expiry of the concerned individuals’ control period or after they have notified CSB of the cessation of the approved outside work, whichever happens earlier. To visit the public register, please click here.

Suspension of Pension

The pensions legislation provides that the payment of pension to a retired civil servant who is granted a pension under the pensions legislation may be suspended if he is re-appointed to the public service, or appointed to service in a subvented organization which is determined as public service for the purpose of pension suspension under the pensions legislation. Under the current pension suspension policy, if a pensioner is re-appointed to the public service, the payment of his pension may be suspended during his service of re-appointment unless and until he has reached the applicable normal or prescribed retirement age under the relevant pension legislations. As for appointment of pensioners to subvented organisations, no subvented organisation has been gazetted to be public service for the purpose of suspension of pension under the relevant pension legislations with effect from 1 September 2011.

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