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Public money funds big cash allowances for top NGO staff

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While working for an NGO may not be quite as lucrative as working in finance, Hong Kong’s top NGO staff take home a sizable paycheck. According to research conducted by the Social Welfare Organisations Employees Union, nearly a quarter of social welfare organisations in Hong Kong paid their top staff cash allowances of over HK$40,000 a year.

The allowances are in addition to their salary, and totalled HK$6 million in 2015. One employee with a position equivalent to a senior social work officer in the Social Welfare Department received the biggest allowance of HK$414,825, bringing her annual compensation to HK$2.15 million, The Standard reports.

The numbers were revealed after an investigation of the annual reports for the 2014-15 fiscal year of 60 social welfare organisations. The union points out that another 98 social welfare organisations are exempted from releasing senior staff salary reports, making it impossible to monitor the HK$2.8 billion they receive in government funding annually.

“As all the money involved is from the public, we question whether the allowances paid to manager levels are in conflict with the principle of funding, and if public money is being abused,” union general secretary Yau Chi-hang commented on the findings.

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