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Resources, links and ideas for PNETs in Hong Kong.
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NET Scheme Information Sheets
Under school-based management, aided schools (specifically, their IMCs) are responsible for formulating school-based policies on sick leave management (including the submission of medical certificates, means of notifying school that the sick leave ends etc.) in accordance with provisions under the Codes of Aid, the Employment Ordinance and instructions issued by the Permanent Secretary for Education. Leave policies are intended to apply equitably to all staff.

Schools are supported in this by their respective EDB REO (Regional Education Office), but the actual policies adopted are up to each school to determine. Government schools differ as they are governed directly by the EDB and therefore follow rules set by the EDB.

Refs:
- Primary Code of Aid: Leave, Appx 10, Appx 11
- Secondary Code of Aid: Leave, Appx 11, Appx 12
- Employment Ordinance: Concise Guide
- Instructions issued by the Sec Ed: Full List, EDB Guidelines for Granting Leave, Guidelines Attachment 4 Notes
- LegCo Update: Press Release, Nov 2015
- School Administration Guide: Chapter 7.5.3, Supplement Appx H
- Common Administrative Isses: Checklist

Sick leave exceeding two days should be supported by a valid medical certificate. There is no rule for less than two days so it is a school-based decision as to whether a medical certificate is required for a one or two sick day(s).

The EDB School Administration Guide states a rule for sick leave of 2+ days:
"Appendix 8 Leave entitlement for staff in Aided Schools
Sick leave application exceeding 2 days must be supported by a valid medical certificate"

The 2012 NET contract was altered to explicitly state what should happen for 2+ days:
"22. Absence from Duties
If a NET is absent from his/her duties for reasons of ill health, he/she shall report immediately to the Principal/Supervisor of School and shall, if the period of absence exceeds two days, forward to him/her an acceptable medical certificate."

Neither say anything about sick leave of two days or less. There is nothing to stop a school making a stricter rule requiring a cert for one or two days - its the Principal's decision.

Statutory holidays do not count as sick leave.

For all valid sick leave taken, days are initially taken from the accumulated sick leave balance and only if that balance expires does it become necessary to classify leave as no-pay sick leave with a loss of salary. (See Guidelines Attachment 4 Notes).

Unfortunately, there is no specific statement anywhere that foreign medical certificates are valid. Instead, the employment ordinance implies it by omission through its non-geographically-limited definition of a valid medical certificate as being one "supported by a medical certificate (The medical certificate should specify the number of days on which, and the nature of the sickness or injury on account of which, the employee is unfit for work.) issued by a registered medical practitioner, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner or a registered dentist."

Abutting Holiday Periods or Weekends
Similarly unfortunately, it seems that nowhere are there any explicit statements concerning specific rules governing sick leave abutting or overrunning holiday periods.

PNET experience is that the standard approach used in IMC schools is:
- Sick leave is counted only for those days actually taken.
- Sick on Friday is one day only and Sat/Sun are not counted.
- Sick on Friday and Monday is four days as Sat/Sun are counted
- Sick on the last day before or the first day after a school holiday is one day only and the holiday period is not counted.
- Sick leave supported by a medical certificate is counted for every day stated on the certificate

Some schools however, (seemingly including government schools) adopt one or more of these approaches:
- Sick leave is counted to include days until you next report.
- Sick on Friday is counted as three days including Sat/Sun.
- Sick on Friday and Monday means that Sat/Sun are counted.
- Sick leave is counted to include abutting holidays.

In government schools, leave policies are controlled more closely by the EDB presumably to be more in line with general civil service sick leave policies so the weekend rule applies:

CSR 1270(b): Definition of sick leave.
Sick leave means any period during which an officer is permitted to be absent from duty on account of illness or other medical treatment or investigation without forfeiting leave of any other description. Any intervening Sundays, Saturday afternoons, gazetted general holidays and, for staff on the alternate Saturday-off system, any Saturday mornings on which they are not due to attend for duty, are counted as sick leave.

It also appears that governments schools may have the ability to be much stricter on checking up as to whether sick leave is real or not:

CSR 1273: Grant of sick leave.
The Secretary for the Civil Service is the authority for the grant of sick leave to substantive or acting Heads of Department and officers occupying posts of equivalent status. All other officers may be granted sick leave by their Heads of Department according to the following rules:
(i) as a concession, sick leave not exceeding two working days may be granted without the production of a medical certificate. However, unless the authorising officer is reasonably confident that the officer is genuinely sick, he has discretion to withhold the grant of sick leave not supported by medical certificates, particularly where the officer concerned applies for sick leave frequently or in a regular pattern;

CSRs 1282 and 1283: Prolonged sick leave.
If an officer is still unfit to perform his duties after being granted 91 consecutive days sick leave, the Head of Department will request the Chief Executive, Hospital Authority, to appoint a Medical Board to examine the officer. Further sick leave may be granted only with the Medical Board¡¦s recommendation. If the officer is still unfit for duty after being granted 182 consecutive days sick leave, a further Medical Board should be arranged, and thereafter at intervals of three months;[/quote]

For issues regarding leave, the EDB advises NETs to talk to the school Principal in the first instance and if further assistance is needed to contact the school REO.

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A school "Supervisor may grant special leave with pay for a maximum of 2 days per academic year to teachers on grounds of urgent private affairs of grave importance".

Under school-based management, aided and special schools are responsible for defining what is classified as urgent private affairs. Schools are supported in this by their respective EDB REO (Regional Education Office). Government schools differ as they are governed directly by the EDB and therefore follow rules set by the EDB that seemingly do not include things such as weddings, family gatherings, deaths of non-immediate family, casual leave etc.

Special Leave rules for all teachers working in primary, secondary and special schools are detailed in the respective Codes of Aid (sections 29a, 28a and 31a) and additionally, in the Compendium to Code of Aid for Aided Schools (Section 8). These rules apply equitably to all teachers in those schools.

The NET Schemes inherit the special leave rules from the Code of Aid. This is evidenced as follows:
1. The original NET Scheme and Enhanced NET Scheme proposals placed before LegCo in which NET-specific terms and conditions were defined, agreed and authorised made no mention of special leave rules; and
2. The standard Memorandum on the Terms and Conditions of Service for Appointment as Teachers under the NET Scheme/Enhanced NET Scheme (section 13.4) for aided schools make specific reference to special leave being "Subject to the rules governing such leave in the respective Code of Aid".

Changing the Rules
To change the special leave rules for NETs therefore requires a change to the Codes of Aid. As things stand, that change would have to be applied to all teachers. There are 53,000 primary and secondary teachers. Given the financial and logistical implications of granting an extra days' leave to those teachers, the EDB would not consider proposing such a change. The EDB would similarly not consider proposing a change for the sole benefit of 870 NETs, given that it would only apply to 0.016% of teachers covered by the Codes and would require a fundamental change in the way the Codes are written equitably for all teachers.

Should this analysis be incorrect, it should be noted that any change to the Codes of Aid or the NET Schemes Remuneration Packages requires the oversight and agreement of the LegCo Education Panel and the LegCo Finance Committee. Whether any such change be proposed by the EDB, or anyone approaching LegCo directly, it would inevitably result in a full LegCo review of all aspects of NET Schemes remuneration (including SA and RI). It would probably also be argued that remuneration as it currently stands compensates NETs for agreeing to work and live in Hong Kong, and therefore also already compensates for the suggested hardship suffered should close family members not in Hong Kong become sick or pass away, harsh though that may seem.

Abutting Holiday Periods, Sick Leave or Weekends
For Aided and Special schools, the EDB confirmed during liaison with the HKPNETs Forum in July 2015 that in summary, special leave taken before or after other types of leave does not affect the classification of that leave i.e. special leave and sick leave can be combined; leave abutting special leave is not classified as no-pay leave. This is a school-wide policy not just for NETs: special leave rules are detailed in the Codes of Aid and there are no stipulations regarding abutting leave; the only leave for which such stipulations are stated is no-pay leave. (See also Follow-up documentation for the liaison meeting held in Nov 2015)

Under school-based administration, schools are responsible for formulating school-based leave policies but you can contact your REO to confirm standard rules for aided and special schools if your school is unclear on the rules or claiming that the rules are different to the above.

It is the recent (Oct 2016) experience of PNETs that the REO has stated to schools that it is possible for special leave to be taken that abuts sick leave. The case in point also confirmed that a medical certificate issued abroad is acceptable.

Government schools are different. They operate their own rules for all teachers as detailed in the standard Letter of Appointment for Government School NETs:

15 Leave Entitlement
15.4 ... Special Leave with pay shall be granted in accordance with the rules and practices governing the granting of such leave for government school teachers.

These rules appear not to be documented anywhere, but current understanding is that special leave in government schools is counted to include abutting holidays for special leave i.e. special leave and sick leave cannot be combined in government schools; leave is classified in government schools as no-pay leave if it abuts special leave.

It is the recent (Nov 2016) experience of PNETs that these are the rules applied in government schools.

If you are in a government school and need to take special leave, it is worth clarifying the rules as they stand by contacting the EDB Administrative division (responsible for gov't schools) as there was a case in 2010 of a leave period of a NET in a government school being retrospectively classified as no-pay leave due to a misunderstanding of the rules.

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See NET Scheme Information - Application Forms for a full list of application forms, when they should be completed, who they should be completed by and to whom they should be sent.

The following is a summary of the procedure for the processing of fringe benefits forms (Flights, SA, RI etc.) in aided and special schools together with areas in which potential delays may occur. Government schools process forms in a similar fashion but forms are sent to the Administrative Division rather than the NET Admin Team.

1. A NET completes the first part of the form and gives it to the school.

2. The school completes the second part of the form.

3. The form is authorised by the supervisor or principal.
    - It may take some time (possibly weeks) for a supervisor to visit a school and be available for authorisation

4. The school then sends the form to the NET Admin Team.
    - Original copies of forms must be sent by post with the school retaining a copy for its records together with any tickets, receipts etc.

5. The NET Admin Team process received forms in order of receipt
    - The later the forms arrive at the start of the year the longer the backlog they need to complete before it can be processed.

6. If NET Admin identifies the form has been completed incorrectly or if more information is needed they will inform the school.
    - The form goes back into the backlog of forms awaiting processing until relevant information is received from the school.
    - If the communication from the NET Admin Team does not get passed to the relevant person in the school, the form remain unprocessed.
    - If the form needs to be completed again, steps 1-4 will need to be repeated with any associated delay.
    - NET Admin expect the school to pass on information to the NET. If this is not done then delay may occur.
    - In general, most delays relevant to this section occur from the school rather than NET Admin.

7. Once NET Admin is satisfied with the form they process it and pass it on to the Funds Section for payment to the school.

8. On receiving the form the Funds Section processes it for inclusion in the next month's Salaries Grant (RI, SA) or direct the school via Recurrent Subventions (Flights, Medical Allowance, Baggage)
    - Salaries Grant has a cut-off date of the 7th of each month by which all forms must be processed if they are to be included in that month's Grant.

9. Once money is received by the school they are responsible for passing it on to the NET.
    - For RI and SA this should be automatic as part of monthly salary.
    - For Flights and Medical Allowance this may be done via cheque or bank transfer that may require authorisation by the Principal or Supervisor
      with possible delays resulting from time taken to obtain that authorisation as above.
 
You can phone the NET Admin Team to check whether an application form has been received, whether it has been processed or whether they are
awaiting more information from the school.

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In the last week of March, the EDB publishes an Appointment/Re-appointment Circular Memorandum for aided and special schools. The circular encourages schools to discuss renewal of contract with NETs and provides a deadline by which schools must inform the EDB of their decisions - usually the first week in May.

In the first week of May or before, schools inform the EDB of the renewal decision.

In the second week of May, the EDB complies a vacancy list and distributes it to those NETs who have requested it. The CVs of new NETs and those NETs who have not been renewed and have requested CV Distribution support are sent to schools looking to fill and NET vacancy (see Vacancy List and CV Distribution Options).

During May, the EDB publishes the latest versions of the Letter of Appointment, MOCS and other contract documentation.

Once this has been done i.e May/June:
 - for NETs renewing at the same school, the school can use the latest published versions to provide contract documentation to the NET* with no further EDB involvement.
 - for NETs offered a position at a new school who were recruited via the Candidate Pool at any time in the past, there is an additional step that must take place before an actual contract can be provided. Once a job offer from a school has been accepted by a NET, the school informs the EDB NET Admin Team. The NET Admin team issues a formal job offer to the NET concerned. Once a formal offer-acceptance reply to that letter is received, the NET Admin Team will then check that all certificates, statements of service, salary information etc. are in order before passing the accumulated file of personal information to the school. Once this has been done, the school can use the information to provide a contract to the NET* using the latest published versions. Experience of PNETs in the past indicates this process may take 3/4 weeks. Enquiries about progress made during this stage and reasons for any delay should be passed to the NET Admin Team.
 - for NETs who have never been recruited via the EDB candidate pool, whether renewing or being offered a new position, it is the school's responsibility to obtain and check all necessary paperwork from the NET without EDB involvement and to then use the latest published versions to provide contract documentation to the NET*.

* Contract documentation is normally passed to the supervisor for authorisation signature before being passed to the NET.

The process for government schools is broadly the same but, it takes place 2 weeks later than for aided and special schools.

Contact the Recruitment Officer in the NET Admin Team for aided and special schools or the Administration Division for government schools for any queries regarding this process or to confirm whether your personal file is being collated.

Intention to Renew

Before 2011, the Terms&Conditions of the Letter of Appointment said NETs should write a letter to their schools by February 16 asking for the school to inform them of the school's intention to renew or not:

24.2 Further Employment
24.2 If the NET so requests, the School will inform him/her in writing whether it intends to offer him/her further employment on Contract, subject to satisfactory completion of his/her current Contract. Such a request shall be made at least six months before the expiry of his/her current Contract. Otherwise, it will be assumed that the NET does not wish to apply for further employment and will leave the service upon expiry of his/her current Contract.

In 2011, this was removed from the Terms&Conditions.

Since 2011, there is no obligation for schools to inform their NET of an intention to renew or not. Instead schools are expected to discuss renewal with the NET as aerly as possible as stated in the annual Appointment/Re-appointment Circular Memorandum:

2 . Schools and their serving NETs with contracts due to expire at the end of the 2015/16 school year are requested to discuss and reach an initial agreement as to whether they wish to have their contracts renewed for another two years. Early discussion on contract renewal matters would enable NETs to make their own future plans and schools to arrange for recruitment or staff deployment.

It is worth noting, also, the Code of Aid which states a deadline of 15 May:

57(d) A teacher employed for a period of not less than two years as specified in a contract of service or letter of appointment shall, at least three months before the expiry of such specified period [May 15 for NETs], inform the School Management Committee whether or not he wishes to seek a renewal of the contract of service. The School Management Committee school shall similarly, at least three months before the expiry of such specified period, inform the teacher whether or not it intends to propose renewal of the contract of service relating to his employment.

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At the end of March every year, the EDB publishes an Appointment/Re-appointment Circular Memorandum for aided and special schools.

The Circular states the deadline by which aided and special schools should inform the EDB NET Admin Team of the school's decision whether or not to renew their NET.

In 2017, the Circular was released on 30 March and the deadline was Thursday 4 May.

Government schools usually have a deadline of one week later and also have their own version of the Appointment/Re-appointment Circular which is normally released a week later than the aided version.

The Circular states schools and NETs are requested to discuss and reach an initial agreement as to whether they wish to have their contracts renewed and early discussion would enable NETs to make their own future plans and schools to arrange for recruitment or staff deployment.

It is worth noting, also, the Code of Aid which states a deadline of 15 May:

57(d) A teacher employed for a period of not less than two years as specified in a contract of service or letter of appointment shall, at least three months before the expiry of such specified period [May 15 for NETs], inform the School Management Committee whether or not he wishes to seek a renewal of the contract of service. The School Management Committee school shall similarly, at least three months before the expiry of such specified period, inform the teacher whether or not it intends to propose renewal of the contract of service relating to his employment.

As a school based employment issue, if the May deadline is not met NETs should firstly contact the school principal before then contacting their REO if further support is needed. The NET Section (ATs/RNCs) has no direct involvement in recruitment, contract renewal or vacancy lists which are under the purview of the NET Admin Team. The NET Admin Team has said it cannot provide NETs with any information regarding the renewal decision form returned to it by the school as that information is confidential, but they will remind schools if the form is not returned the May deadline.

The Circular is not faxed to schools. It is published via the EDB website. It is the responsibility of all schools to look for the Circular on the EDB website in line with the standard approach for releasing all circulars to schools, to return Form A attached to the Circular (see below) and to "bring this circular memorandum to the attention of their NETs" as requested in the circular. If the latter is not done within a week, it may well be worth bringing the Circular to the attention of your school.

The Circular states that schools are advised to check the EDB website in May for the latest version of contract documents before signing a formal contract with their NET. Details of what happens next in the contract renewal process are listed in the Contract Renewal Information Sheet.

Vacancy List and CV Distribution Options

If your school has said your contract will not be renewed:

1. NETs recruited via the EDB Candidate Pool at any time in the past regardless of how the current contract was obtained can ask for EDB support in finding a new position by completing "Form B - Application of Serving NETs for New Appointment on Completion of Contract" asking either for a CV to be distributed to schools by the EDB or for a copy of the vacancy list to be provided. It is not possible to ask for both. Contact Recruitment Officer in the NET Admin Team for any queries regarding this application.

The Vacancy List is usually published in the 2nd week of May when it will be emailed to those who have requested it using Form B.

The EDB has stated that it uses a "fair system" to distribute CVs. The CV provided by a NET is distributed in its entirety. CVs are distributed to schools in batches of "more than five" and schools can request additional batches. It is not known how many schools a given CV is distributed to or the selection criteria used to determine to which schools a CV is distributed, however schools can state a particular requirement such as drama if they so wish.

2. NETs who have never been recruited through the EDB Candidate Pool, i.e. have always been recruited via a school, cannot request CV distribution and will not be provided with a copy of the vacancy list.

If your school has said it will renew your contract or if you are mid-contract, the EDB provides neither recruitment assistance nor a copy of the vacancy list.

If you are an ex-NET originally recruited via the EDB Candidate Pool and now wishing to return to employment in the NET Schemes, you can request CV distribution or a copy of the vacancy list having first reapplied to rejoin the NET schemes and provided the EDB NET Admin Team with necessary updated documentation to allow you to be re-entered into the EDB Candidate Pool once again. Contact the Recruitment Officer in the NET Admin Team.

If you are a new NET recruited via the EDB to the Candidate Pool and seeking a first NET contract, the EDB will provide support by CV distribution only and will not provide the vacancy list.

Forms

Form A must be returned by all schools by fax to the NET Admin Team. Schools with mid-contract NETs complete parts I and IV whilst those with end-of-contract NETs complete sections I, II/III and IV.

Form B should be completed by end-of-contract NETs who are not being renewed and who has been recruited via the EDB Candidate Pool at any time in the past regardless of how the current contract was obtained. NETs can either ask to be given a copy of the vacancy list or ask for their CV to be distributed to schools. The NET should send Form B to the NET Admin Team by fax or email.

Form C is only completed by NETs who have never been recruited through the EDB Candidate Pool and who are instead recruited directly by the school. It should be completed by both the NET and the school after a contract has been signed. The school should send it to the NET Admin Team.

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The Medical Allowance facilitates the reimbursement of medical insurance scheme costs to the value of HK$1,400 per year for a single NET and HK$5,400 per year for a NET accompanied by spouse and/or children.

Participation in a medical insurance scheme is not mandatory and there are no restrictions regarding the choice of insurance provider, the choice of policy provision and cover, or the actual cost of a chosen policy. Where a chosen policy costs in excess of the Allowance value, reimbursement is possible to the amount of the Allowance value. Double-benefits arising from employment or from a spouse's employment are not allowed and must be declared during application.

Application for reimbursement should be made every year and reimbursement is provided on a pro-rata basis should insurance policy coverage not coincide with the contract period. Reimbursement is typically made by the school via cheque or bank transfer rather than via automated monthly salary payment.

The Medical Allowance is taxable (see EDB FAQ Q20 and Government Schools Memorandum on T&Cs, 2015,  Section 14.2).

Enquiries about the Medical Allowance should be directed toward the EDB NET Admin Team for aided and special schools and the Administration Division for government schools.

Adjustment
Medical Allowance reimbursement is provided on a fixed-sum basis as determined by LegCo when the NET Schemes were established (see Review of the Medical Allowance below). There is no separate adjustment mechanism for the medical benefit, which follows that for the civil service.

Changes in living expenses, such as those due to changes in medical policy costs, are supported through the index-based, annually-adjusted Special Allowance which is "provided on a non-accountable basis so as to provide the NETs with the flexibility to dispose the allowance in meeting other living expenses of their own choosing".

NET-Specific Medical Insurance
All teachers can make use of medical insurance schemes available through the HK Professional Teachers' Association (HKPTU).

Local and international insurance providers are unwilling to provide NET-Specific medical insurance policies to groups of NETs:

- Group schemes are usually compulsory such that the insurer's risk can be spread over a range of ages, sexes and general levels of health. Where there is no compulsory participation, companies' experience is that the older or less healthy are more likely to take up policies which skews the risk profile. Given that NET insurance coverage is not compulsory and uptake is likely to be limited in number and high-risk in nature companies are generally not willing to take on NET-specific group-policy business. HKPTU insurance coverage is able to overcome this though its extremely large membership encompassing the 53,000 primary and secondary teachers eligible to join its schemes. Policies provided by the English Schools Foundation to its staff overcome these issues by making enrolment mandatory for the 1300 teachers at its 22 schools.

- NETs in government schools are employed by the government, but are not classed as civil servants. NETs in aided and special schools are employed individually by a given school. Insurance companies will not provide specialised insurance coverage to a school with only 1 employee requiring dedicated insurance. They are similarly unwilling to provide coverage to associations with low-numbers of employees such as the EDB with only 64 NETs in government schools under its control, to a sponsoring body with multiple but small numbers of schools under its remit, to Nesta with its 130+ members or to the HKPNETs Forum Primary Association with its 400+ PNET members.

The HKPNETs Forum has sourced two companies willing to provide NET-specific policies:
 - ACE Life Insurance policy includes life, accident, hospital and critical illness cover.
 - ALC/Village International Insurance policy based on standard international ex-pat insurance coverage with associated higher-level premiums
   (Policy withdrawn in 2017 due to lack of uptake after being established in 2015)

*** Many thanks to the PNET who spent many months investigating this issue and to the PNETs who facilitated the NET-specific policies mentioned. ***

Review of the Medical Allowance
In 1997, the fixed-rate Medical Allowance was approved by the LegCo Finance committeee as part of the reimbursement package for NETs at the commencement of the Enhanced NET Scheme.

In 2002, the fixed-rate Medical Allowance was approved by LegCo as part of the reimbursement package for primary NETs at the commencement of the NET Scheme.

In 2005, Nesta proposed to LegCo an increase in the Medical Allowance. The EDB stated, "The provision was originally made in 1997 to reflect the average government cost of medical benefits paid to comparable civil servants. As NETs are on valid work visa and they enjoy the public sector medical services just like every member of the public, we consider that there is no case to improve on this medical provision as at present."

In 2007, Nesta proposed to LegCo an increase in the Medical Allowance. The EDB stated the attrition rate of NETs in the 2005-2006 school year had improved to 32% and 25% for primary NETs and secondary NETS respectively and adopt appropriate measures to improve the competitiveness of the remuneration package if the attrition rate increased in the 2006-2007 school year.

In April 2008, Nesta asked the EDB for a 257%/177% increase in single/married medical allowance and asked LegCo for the same in July 2008. The EDB said there is no separate adjustment mechanism for the medical benefit, which follows that for the civil service; given the stringent policy considerations on the fringe benefits of the civil service, it would not warrant any justifiable reasons for EDB to revise the medical allowance; this was presented to Nesta in a liaison meeting on 8 July 2009 at which full understanding was expressed that it was not a suitable time to conduct a comprehensive review on the remuneration package of NETs under the NET Schemes in the foreseeable future.

In 2014, Nesta asked the EDB for an increase in the Medical Allowance and proposed an adjustment mechanism similar to that for SA. The EDB stated that it "had conducted a market search and found that there were affordable packages with reference to the present rate of allowance. NETs could consider the basic medical insurance plans and avail themselves of the service of public hospitals."

In Nov 2016, Nesta asked the EDB for an increase in the Medical Allowance and proposed an adjustment mechanism similar to that for SA. The EDB responded "any revision of the allowance needs to be approved by LegCo. EDB has looked at plans in the market and some are within the allowance e.g. PTU basic plans. NETs are also eligible for public medical services. NETs have other allowances e.g. SA, which NETs have the flexibility to use to cover other living expenses. The medical allowance is not intended to provide full coverage of private health insurance. Priority is given to the SA and passage allowances. A lot of work would need to be undertaken to achieve increases in the medical allowance and even if increases could be achieved these could result in less money being allocated for the SA or passage allowance." Nesta also asked for doctor receipts to be used in lieu of the allowance. The EDB disregarded the request. Nesta approached LegCo Councillor Regina Ip and PTU Vice-president Eddie Shee proposing an increase to the Medical Allowance and an adjustment mechanism linked to inflation with a view to obtaining a 570% increase in the allowance. In response to the letters they subsequently sent, the EDB rejected the proposal.

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A Special Allowance is available the value of which is fixed over the contract period. The value is subject to adjustment according to the prevailing rate upon entering into a new contract or upon commencing an extension contract period.

The Special Allowance is provided on a non-accountable basis to provide NETs with the flexibility to dispose the allowance in meeting other living expenses of their own choosing (see Definition of the Special Allowance below).

On joining the NET Schemes a Declaration on Normal Place of Residence should be made using application Form A to confirm the possession of permanent resident status in a country/place outside Hong Kong and social ties outside Hong Kong. This form does not have to be completed again unless you leave the NET Schemes for 1 year or more, or you switch between an aided/special school to a government school.

An application for the Special Allowance should be made at the start of every contract using application Form B and reimbursement is provided on a pro-rata basis should insurance policy coverage not coincide with the contract period. Forms can be submitted before the start date of the contract i.e. before the summer holiday or at any time during the contract.

Payment is typically made by the school via automated monthly salary payment. Initial payment is dependent on form processing times and processing being completed by the 7th of any given month for payment in that month. Payment is backdated to the start date of the contract or to the actual start date employment should that be later (e.g. due to visa issues) - this may be made in the initial payment, or in the following couple of months.

A NET on full-pay leave may continue to receive the Special Allowance for a maximum of 60 days on each occasion. Those on maternity leave receive the allowance for the whole period of maternity leave. (see Terms&Conditions Appendix B)

If leaving employment before the end of any school year, cumulative Special Allowance already paid is not repayable.

The Special Allowance is taxable (see EDB FAQ Q20 and Government Schools Memorandum on T&Cs, 2015,  Section 13.2) and should appear on the end-of-tax-year return of payroll emoluments issued to you by the school in April.

Enquiries about the Special Allowance should be directed toward the EDB NET Admin Team for aided and special schools and the Administration Division for government schools.

Adjustment
Index-based adjustment to support ongoing changes in living expenses is provided by the LegCo approved annual Special Allowance Adjustment Mechanism.

Any adjustment to the rate of Special Allowance is only applied to newly-singed contracts and to those extending their contract. Mid-contract NETs remain on the existing rate stated in their contract until signing a new/renewed contract in the following year. 

See the Special Allowance Adjustment Mechanism Information Sheet for more details.

Review of the Special Allowance
A history of annual reviews, rate adjustments, the method of implementation and liaison is available in the Special Allowance History of Reviews Information Sheet.

The latest review data and summary status is available here.

Definition of the Special Allowance

In 2003, the EDB stated to the LegCo Education Panel that the SA was:

"to cover mainly the expense on meeting housing needs, and also other incidental expense (like meeting the education cost of the NETs' accompanying children)".

In 2005, the EDB stated to the LegCo Finance Committee that the SA:

"aims to assist NETs in meeting cost of living (mainly accommodation cost) in Hong Kong" and
"is basically an allowance to help NETs meet accommodation cost. However, it is provided on a non-accountable basis so as to provide the NETs with the flexibility to dispose the allowance in meeting other living expenses of their own choosing. The use of the Special Allowance is a personal decision for NETs, but it has never been the intention of the Administration to provide the Special Allowance to cover all living expenses of NETs in Hong Kong on top of the salary."

In 2011 and 2014, the EDB informed schools that:

"The SA aims to assist NETs in meeting cost of living (mainly accommodation) in Hong Kong on condition that their normal place of residence has been established as outside Hong Kong."

In 2016, the EDB stated that:

"SA is meant to provide sufficient incentive to attract qualified NETs who would have to meet additional household expense in Hong Kong."

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A Retention Incentive is is available for anyone having completed two or more consecutive years of employment to the value of of 5% base salary for the third and fourth years' of service and 10% base salary for fifth year of service onwards.

The Retention Incentive provides an additional incentive for serving NETs to continue their service in Hong Kong.

An application for the Retention Incentive should be made every year. Forms can be submitted before the start date of the contract i.e. before the summer holiday or at any time during the contract.

Eligibility for the Retention Incentive is subject to a school's satisfaction with performance as stated on the application. On moving to a new school, the intention of the application form is that for the first year of a new contract at a new school that new school should take the successful completion of a previous contract and their own decision to offer the new contract in the first place as sufficient reason to be satisfied with performance. However, under school-based management, when a NET moves to a new school, the new Principal is entitled to not support an application and to implement a probation period before authorising an application. In such cases, when the application is eventually received it is backdated to the start of the school year. This should not be standard practice though and the EDB NET Admin Team will do their best, if contacted by a NET, to explain to the school that the standard approach to authorising application should be based on past experience at the previous school.

Payment is typically made by the school via automated monthly salary payment. Initial payment is dependent on form processing times and processing being completed by the 7th of any given month for payment in that month. Payment is backdated to the start date of the contract or to the actual start date employment should that be later (e.g. due to visa issues) - this may be made in the initial payment, or in the following couple of months.

If leaving employment before the end of any school year, cumulative Retention Incentive already paid for the months in that school year are repayable.

The Retention Incentive is taxable (see EDB FAQ Q20 and Government Schools Memorandum on T&Cs, 2015,  Section 7.11) and should appear on the end-of-tax-year return of payroll emoluments issued to you by the school in April.

Enquiries about the Retention Incentive should be directed toward the EDB NET Admin Team for aided and special schools and the Administration Division for government schools.

Adjustment
The Retention Incentive is provided on a percentage of base salary basis. Adjustment to base salary is provided via the LegCo approved Civil Service Pay Adjustment Mechanism.

There is no separate adjustment mechanism for the retention benefit, which follows that for the civil service.

Review of the Retention Incentive
In 2005, the Retention Incentive was proposed by the EDB and authorised by the LegCo Finance Commitee for introduction in the 2006/7 school year.

In April 2008, Nesta asked the EDB to introduce a 15%/17.5% incentive for 6/8 years of service. The EDB responded in 2009 saying that Nesta had agreed that it was not a suitable time to conduct a comprehensive review on the remuneration package of NETs under the NET Schemes in the foreseeable future.

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The NET Schemes were first proposed in 1996 by an Education Commission (Report No. 6) set up by the government in the last years before the handover. It was implemented in two stages.

The Enhanced NET Scheme in secondary schools (SNET Scheme) was formally proposed as government policy by the Chief Executive in 1997. As government policy, details were presented to the LegCo Finance Committee which rubber-stamped recurrent funding for an SNET in every Secondary School as part of the 'staff establishment' (the number of LETs, NETs, ancillary staff funded by the EDB in each school as part of the Salaries Grant). The EDB didn't "ask" for funding, it was rubber-stamped as for all government policy. The implementation of the SNET Scheme fell to the EDB Professional Development and Training Division (PDDT) which already administered salary and fringe benefits for LETs. They set up the NET Admin Team to recruit SNETs and administer their salary and benefits. Funding for the NET Admin Team did not require Finance Committee authorisation as it was covered within the EDB's own civil service budget.
[Note: at this stage, the NET Section did not exist]

In 2001, the government set up a Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) and tasked it with evaluating the effectiveness of the SNET Scheme. Research was commissioned by them from HKIEd known as the MENETs Report.

The PNET Scheme was formally proposed as government policy by the Chief Executive in 2001. As the LegCo Education Panel Committee had now been established, the details of the proposal were presented to the Panel. As a result of recommendations made in the MENETs Report the proposal included the establishment of the EDB NET Section within the EDB's Curriculum Development Institute to support the implementation of the two NET Schemes. Following Education Panel discussion, details were presented to the LegCo Finance Committee which rubber-stamped recurrent funding for a PNET in every primary school again as part of the 'teaching establishment'. Funding for the NET Section, as for the NET Admin Team did NOT require Finance Committee authorisation as it was covered within the EDB's own civil service budget. This distinction is important because it separates "The NET Scheme" from both the NET Admin Team and the NET Section.

There are therefore 4 separate entities with 3 different fundings:
- the SNET Scheme with recurrent funding from LegCo as part of the teaching establishment;
- the PNET Scheme with recurrent funding from LegCo as part of the teaching establishment;
- the PDDT NET Admin Team with internal non-LegCo civil service funding.
- the CDI NET Section with internal non-LegCo civil service funding.

The cost of the SNET and PNET Schemes are regularly reported to LegCo.
The cost of the PDDT NET Admin Team, a civil service department, is subsumed under recurrent expenditure of the EDB and not reported.
The cost of the CDI NET Section was not reported until April 2017 when the EDB stated that, other than adhoc project costs, NET Section costs, including resource development, are "subsumed under the recurrent expenditure of EDB and a separate breakdown of the staffing and financial implications is not available".

NETs are funded - together with all teaching and non-teaching staff covered under the EDB approved Staff Establishment of the school (the number of staff allowed at each grade for a given number of classes, including both NETs and LETs) - via the EDB's recurrent Salaries Grant paid monthly to schools. Any suggestion that NETs are paid from specially-designated EDB funds and should be treated differently misunderstands the EDB funding mechanism.

DSS (Private Sector) vs Aided (Public Sector)

The EDB NET Schemes cover all public sector schools: government, aided, special and caput schools. They do not cover DSS or private schools that operate within HK's private education sector (confirmed during liaison with the EDB in 2012 and 2015).

DSS schools have flexibility in choosing how to spend their budget. The government supports them via a Direct Subsidy grant based upon the number of students attending a school with DSS schools able to supplement that income by charging fees, seeking donations and having rental income. DSS Schools are free to use total income as they see fit and can choose how many teachers to employ and the remuneration package offered. The remuneration packaged offered by DSS schools to DSS NETs therefore varies from schools to school: some choose to offer DSS NETs a similar remuneration package to PNETs and SNETs on the NET Schemes; some do not.

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The de-facto role of a PNET, established when the NET Scheme was first proposed, is:

NETs are to
(a) enrich the language environment in schools;
(b) act as a resource person to bring in effective teaching methods from overseas; and
(c) assist in school-based teacher development.

Proposed duties of NETs in primary schools:
1. To undertake teaching duties and try out good teaching models/practices related to the learning, teaching and assessment of English;
2. To provide support for the English panel, including contributing to school-based curriculum development and professional development of fellow teachers, as well as developing and preparing learning/teaching materials;
3. To organise and conduct extra-curricular activities related to English learning and teaching, such as plays/skit performances, school-based English camps, English language games (day), story-telling activities, songs and dances, verse speaking, and extensive reading; and, if applicable, to contribute to other extra-curricular activities such as IT, art and craft activities and sports;
4. To act as an advisor on language teaching and learning for the principal and teachers in the school

When the NET Scheme was first implemented, the phrase "Agent of Change" was used to indicate the anticipated role of PNETs in schools. In 2009, the evaluation of the NET Scheme undertaken by Melbourne University stated "NETs were not regarded as 'agents of change' in school" and the anticipated role no longer applies.

The de-facto role of an SNET, established when the Enhanced NET Scheme was first proposed, is:

NETs will act as English language resource teachers in the schools. They will assist in school-based English teacher development programme and help foster an enabling environment for students to speak English and practise their oral skills. They will share the heavy burden shouldered by the existing English teachers.

Proposed duties of the NETs:
It is proposed that the duties of NETs should cover the following -
1. to be responsible for classroom teaching and assessment;
2. to provide support to the English Panel Chairperson, including assisting in the tailoring of the curriculum and preparation of teaching materials;
3. to assist in conducting extra-curricular activities related to the English language, e.g. speech, drama, debates, choral speaking and extensive reading;
4. to assist in running more oral activities for students after school, especially Chinese-medium schools;
5. to assist in setting up an English corner in the school where students can come together to practise oral English and read English books under their guidance; and
6. to act as an English language resource person for other teachers in school.

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For aided and special schools, the EDB does not set rules for PD. Under school-based management schools are responsible for formulating and managing PD policy. Government schools are different as they are managed by the EDB so will have rules defined by the EDB.

For the same school-based management reason, the NET Scheme does not set any rules about PD other than saying in the Deployment Guidelines that one of our non-teaching activities should be "Attending centralised/regional professional development activities". The NET Scheme does not state that new PNETs must attend a certain amount of PD - even the NET Section Induction course is voluntary.

In 1993 an advisory board was set up called Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) "to provide a single source of authoritative advice to Government on teacher education programmes, and on qualifications acceptable for teaching purposes". In 2013, the committee was renamed to Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals (COTAP).

The ACTEQ/COTAP Committee has produced three reports (2003, 2006, 2009) containing a framework of rules with a recommendation of 150 hours of PD over 3 years. The latest version from 2009 states the following (it's a long quote, but worth reading to fully understand what counts as PD hours):

"The Teachers' CPD Framework
2.1 To foster a culture of teachers' CPD, ACTEQ released "CPD Document 2003" in November 2003 and proposed a teachers' CPD framework. The aim was to institutionalise the practice of teachers' CPD to encoursge all teachers to engage in learning in various domains and so enhance their professionalism. Salient features of the framework include:

- an objective target for CPD participation - A "soft" target of 150 CPD hours in a three-year cycle is set, within which teachers can deliberate on the direction and content;

- a broad definition of CPD - Teachers' CPD refers to all kinds of learning opportunities that help them strengthen their professional practices. Teachers in general embrace formal training programmes, which are broadly categorised as "structured learning". More importantly, they should also take on CPD activities that encompass various types of informal learning taking place within and across schools. These CPD activities are broadly categorised as "other CPD modes". "Structured learning" includes long-term or short-term courses, conferences, symposia, workshops, higher academic studies and offshore study visits. "Other CPD modes" include job enrichment activities, mentoring, action learning, and service ro education and the community See Appendix [E] of "CPD 2003".

- varied and balanced professional learning experiences - It is recommended that teachers spend no less than 50 hours in a three-year cycle on "structured learning" and no less that 50 hours on "other CPD modes" so that they can benefit from rich and balanced professional learning opportunities;

- a spirit of "professional judgement" and "school-based decisions" - The effectiveness of teachers' CPD hinges on the extent to which teachers and schools find their CPD needs are satisfies. The CPD framework therefore attaches considerable importance to giving teachers and schools discretion to decide on the CPD strategies and plans which are most appropriate for their contexts;

4.4 It is recommended that:
the "soft" approach put forward in "CPD Document 2003" should continue viz.
(a) a target of about 150 CPD hours over three years;
(b) the modes and content of the CPD activities to be defined by schools; and
(c) schools to exercise professional autonomy in monitoring the implementation of teachers' CPD."

In summary:

The 150 hours over 3 years is a recommendation not a rule.
It is up to schools to decide whether and how to apply the recommendation.
Teachers and schools should decide together what is appropriate for a given context.
It is not just courses that count but also lots of different PD activities.

What counts as PD?
If you're struggling to find PD to fill in your 50 hours its worth reading the 2003 report Appendix E and the induction programme powerpoint for newly-appointed school Principals.

These state a whole range of activities that you might not think as PD that count toward hours such as:
- mentoring other teachers
- running PD at school
- sharing good practice
- school visits
- school-based projects
- voluntary work
- lesson observation
- and co-planning.

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Liaison with the EDB for matters relating to the NET Schemes is undertaken by two organisations: The HK Primary Native-speaking English Teachers Forum (HKPNETs Forum) and the Native English Speaking Teachers Association (Nesta).

The HKPNETs Forum is the primary NET association that represents the views and interests of PNETs in Hong Kong. It is a registered association with a membership of approximately 400 PNETs working in the the NET Scheme. It holds regular liaison meetings with the EDB under the authority of Kevin Yeung, the Under Secretary for Education. Minutes of liaison meetings, submissions to LegCo and discussions with LegCo members are available here.

Nesta represents the views and interests of NETs in the Enhanced NET Scheme (SNETs), ATs, RNCs, DSS NETs and Ex-NETs awarded lifelong membership. It is a registered association with a membership number that is not made public, but is reported to be approximately 130. It holds regular liaison meetings with the EDB under the authority of the Principal Education Officer of the Professional Development and Training Division. Minutes of liaison meetings and discussions with LegCo are not publicly available.

Fringe Benefits

Full details of liaison relating to the Medical Allowance are available in the Medical Allowance Information Sheet.

Details of liaison relating to the annual Special Allowance Review are available in the Special Allowance Information Sheet.

Details of liaison relating to proposals for an Education Allowance are available below.

History of Liaison

The Enhanced NET Scheme was established in secondary schools in 1998.

In 2001, Nesta was established by SNETs as an association for NETs working in the Enhanced NET Scheme.

In 2002, LegCo raised concerns about the difficulty in recruiting and retaining SNETs. In response, the EDB designated an Education Officer to act as a contact point for resolving issues.

In 2003, a year after the NET Scheme started in primary schools, the EDB asked LegCo to approve a new SA Adjustment Mechanism. LegCo Education Panel members encouraged the EDB to consult with NETs with the help of the HKPTU. The EDB said it would consult with NETs through various channels.

In May and June 2005, Nesta petitioned LegCo to change the remuneration package: 25% gratuity, 43% increase in SA, 5-year long-service award of 4 mths salary and an increase in medical allowance justifying them through rental and moving costs, tax increases, rising school fees, local health issues, bird flu, sars, challenges of living in hk, family outings costs, rising salaries of domestic helpers, and reduced earning power etc.

In July 2005, the LegCo Education Panel held a meeting to discuss NET Scheme cost-effectiveness and recruitment issues. Nesta submitted its petitions again and attended the LegCo meeting. The EDB argued against the petitions. LegCo expressed concern about the increasing turnover rate of NETs and asked the EDB to consult Nesta on improvements to the NET Scheme and to make recommendations to enhance the competitiveness of the NET Scheme. In Oct 2005, the EDB disregarded the petitions and instead instituted the Retention Incentive. The EDB stated that it would continue to consult with NETs through various channels including the parent-teacher associations; in 2006/7 the Principal Education Officer of the Professional Development and Training Division, EDB, began to hold regular meetings with Nesta to gauge views and feedback from NETs.

In 2006, the HKPNETs Forum was established by PNETs as an association for NETs working in the NET Scheme.

In Mar 2007, two SNETs, Lee Weston and Craig Boswell, petioned LegCo in their own right on behalf of all NETs for the the 2005 SA increase to be backdated for all NETs and for $29,500 compensation to be paid to NETs signing contracts in 2004. This led to LegCo initiating a full review of the EDB's NET Scheme Policy and seeking the views of principal association.

In Apr 2007, LegCo held a full review of the NET Scheme policy. The views of fourteen associations were sought: thirteen attended the meeting; all supported the NET Scheme Policy. Nesta proposed teaching degrees be mandatory; that the "wrong type of NETs" be weeded out; increases in SA, baggage and medical allowances; removal of school-based management for NETs; a new education allowance and an increase in salaries. Lee Weston and Craig Boswell attended and repeated their petition. Other associations asked for contracts to be five-year and schools with a good track-record of NET retention be given priority; asked for two NETs per school, Induction for new NETs and a cash allowance in lieu of a NET. The EDB disregarded all suggestions.

Between 2007 and 2008, Nesta petitioned the EDB to increase entry qualifications for PNETs to ensure only "qualified and experienced teachers" were recruited so that the integrity of the Enhanced NET Scheme would not be affected. The EDB introduced a mandatory TEFL for PNETs from 2009/10 with a strict requirement of 100-hours' tuition and a practical teaching component.

In April 2008, Nesta asked the EDB to change the remuneration package: 45% SA increase, 15%/17.5% RI for 6/8 years' service, gratuity increase to 18% to compensate for change in $HK, education allowance of 50%/25% school fees for 1st/subsequent child, 257%/177% increase in single/married medical allowance, baggage allowance of 1 cubic metre. In July 2008, Nesta approached LegCo with the same request. In Aug 2009, the EDB disregarded all suggestions saying that Nesta had agreed that it was not a suitable time to conduct a comprehensive review on the remuneration package of NETs under the NET Schemes in the foreseeable future. The EDB also said there is no separate adjustment mechanism for non-SA benefits, which follow that for the civil service.

In 2013 LegCo held a review mtg of the NET Schemes. NET representatives were not invited to attend.

In June 2014, Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California, wrote a letter to the SCMP suggesting the NET Scheme should be abolished. Members of the HKPNETs Forum wrote to Prof. Krashen expressing disagreement with his position given that the NET Scheme implements his own research recommendations and pedagogical approach and inviting him to visit schools in HK on his next visit. Subsequently, Prof. Krashen wrote to the SCMP clarifying he does not wish the NET Scheme to be abolished.

In August 2014, Nesta requested a change in the Special Allowance Mechanism to address "unfair implementation". The EDB rejected the request as, being the gatekeeper to public money, the EDB is obliged to follow the established LegCo-approved mechanism. Subsequently, Nesta re-submitted the request via LegCo Councillor, Emily Lau. The EDB rejected the request for the same reason.

In November 2014 LegCo held a review meeting which focussed on the NET Scheme.

Following this meeting, the HKPNETs Forum made a formal submission to the LegCo Education Panel to respond to questions and concerns raised by LegCo members. The Hon Regina Ip, GBS, JP and Hon Michael Tien, BBS, JPT subsequently invited the HKPNETs Forum to a meeting to discuss the effectiveness of the NET Scheme which in turn led to an invitation to meet with Kevin Yeung, the Under Secretary for Education to discuss NET Scheme related matters.

Also following this meeting, LegCo Councillor Ip Kin-yuen published an article in the PTUNews newsletter containing the results of NET Scheme survey he had conducted. The HKPNETs Forum made a formal submission to the PTUNews responding to concerns raised.

In November 2014, Nesta asked the EDB to introduce an education allowance and to increase in the Medical Allowance and proposed a Medical Allowance adjustment mechanism similar to that for SA. The EDB said an education allowance is not viable especially given the political climate typified by the recent LegCo meeting that had discussed the high salaries of NETs. The EDB said that there are affordable medical insurance packages with reference to the present rate of Medical Allowance as well as the services of public hospitals being available.

In early 2015 the EDB commenced a $1.3million NET Scheme Evaluation Study conducted by Azusa Pacific University. The EDB informed Nesta of the details of this study in November 2014, but this information was not passed on to PNETs. Subsequently, the HKPNETs Forum submitted a formal paper to the Study Team detailing questions raised by PNETs and discussing relevant NET Scheme issues to support the objectives and terms of reference of the evaluation study.

In July 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB the issue of improving NET communication channels. Subsequent to this, the EDB now emails both the HKPNETs Forum and Nesta with details of any updates made to NET Scheme documents available on its website.

In September 2015 the HKPNETs Forum and representatives of the EDB began to hold regular meetings to discuss issues relating to the NET Scheme.

In November 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB the issue of contract documentation not having update dates or reference numbers and the issue of the checklist distributed to Principals of forms that need to be submitted not being easily available to NETs. Subsequent to this, the EDB now includes an date of update on all updated documentation including contract terms and conditions and has published the Notes for Applications checklist on its website.

In November 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB its plan to update and issue new Deployment Guidelines without consulting PNETs. Subsequent to this, the EDB committed to "consult stakeholders, including NETs using focus groups, established channels of communication and [a] online survey" with a view to issuing new Guidelines by the end of the 2017/18 school year.

On 14 December 2015, CHAN Ka Ki, Catherine, Deputy Secretary for Education, confirmed to LegCo that the EDB would maintain close communication with different stakeholders in the implementation of the NET Scheme.

In May 2016, Nesta discussed with the EDB the issue of NETs attending meetings held in Cantonese. Subsequent to this, the EDB updated its Frequently Asked Questions to state that "schools may need every teacher to be in staff meetings and that the NET's presence in meetings may matter to other teachers. Therefore schools are requested to give due consideration when requiring their NETs to attend meetings conducted in Cantonese, and do so as appropriate."

In mid 2016, Nesta submitted a letter to the EDB re-introducing the request to change the Special Allowance Mechanism to address "unfair" implementation and petitioned the EDB "for NETs to be paid the same Special Allowance as they used to be". Subsequent to this, PNETs sent a letter to the Secretary for Education stating that Nesta does not represent the views of PNETs and that the HKPNETs Forum is the organisation that represents PNETs; the EDB stated its desire to continue communication and collaboration with the Forum through the various channels. The EDB disregarded Nesta's proposal and petition and increased the special allowance in line with the Adjustment Mechanism.

In late 2016, Nesta asked the EDB for a Medical Allowance adjustment mechanism similar to that for SA and an increase in the allowance. The EDB responded saying that any revision of the allowance needs to be approved by LegCo and any increase could result in less money being allocated for the SA or passage allowance. Subsequently, Nesta re-submitted the request via a LegCo Councillor and the PTU with a view to obtaining a 570% increase in the allowance. The EDB rejected the request.

In Feb 2017, the Council on Professional Conduct in Education contacted the HKPNETs Forum and Nesta to exchange views on the consultation being undertaking for revisions to the Professional Code for the Education Profession of Hong Kong and Case [of Misconduct] Handling Procedures.

In April 2017, following earlier discussions in Nov 2015 and July 2016, the HKPNETs Forum discussed the issue of consultation for the proposed update of Deployment Guidelines; the EDB stated that invitations to participate in a consultative focus group will be issued to the HKPNETs Forum and to Nesta.

History of Education Allowance Proposal

A proposal for an Education Allowance was submitted to the EDB and to LegCo in 2007.

Another proposal for an Education Allowance of 50% school fees for a first child and 25% school fees for subsequent children was submitted to the EDB in April 2008 and to LegCo in July 2008. The EDB responded in 2009 saying that there is no justifiable reasons to revise fringe benefits of NETs in light of stringent policy considerations on the fringe benefits of the civil service and that it had been agreed with NET representatives that a comprehensive review of remuneration would not take place in in the foreseeable future.

A proposal for an Education Allowance was submitted to the EDB in late 2014 with the EDB responding that such an allowance is not viable, especially given the political climate typified by the Nov 2014 LegCo Education Panel meeting that had highlighted perceived high salaries of NETs.

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