Casual-dress Fridays launched for civil servants
Civil servants will now be encouraged to dress casually on Fridays as part of a push for greater participation in sports and recreational activities.
On "dress casual Fridays," civil servants will be able to wear sportswear or casual clothes to work.
In the announcement yesterday, Secretary for Civil Service Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan said she hoped to motivate her colleagues to keep up with their physical and mental health as well as maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The launch came a few days ahead of this year's "sports for all" day on Sunday, during which most public-leisure facilities will be open for free.
Yeung said: "We are launching dress casual Fridays this week to help colleagues develop the habit of regular physical exercise."
The Civil Service Bureau issued an email to all bureaus and departments yesterday announcing the casual Friday arrangement. However, it added the arrangement will not apply to staff members required to wear uniforms, such as those in the disciplinary forces.
The Hong Kong Federation of Civil Service Unions' chief Leung Chau-ting welcomed the move. He said the arrangement will help relax civil servants, adding: "Now we may feel freer when wearing casual clothes."
But one executive officer, who has worked for the government for five years, told The Standard that the plan was far-fetched. "I think it's unconvincing. Even if I wear a tracksuit in the office, it doesn't help at all in motivating me to work out," she said. "It'll be more effective if they allow us one hour every Friday for sports."
The last time such a policy was mentioned was in 2006 when then civil service chief Denise Yue Chung-yee issued a letter to government employees in which she requested they wear casual summer clothes to the office for energy-saving purposes.
Yue noted in the letter that air-conditioning settings at government offices have been fixed at 25.5 degrees Celsius to support authorities' green policies.
"There are still some people who have not adopted a more relaxed code of business attire in the summer," Yue wrote. "I would like to encourage everyone to discard jackets and ties."