On 15 June 2022, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2022 (Bill), which has been introduced by the Hong Kong Government in February 2022 – during the outbreak of the fifth wave of Covid-19 in the city. The Bill will come into force on a date to be gazetted and will not have retrospective effect.
Once the Bill comes into effect:
- employees subject to a quarantine or isolation order, a compulsory testing notice or order, or those required not to leave a restricted premises will be entitled to statutory sick pay;
- employees’ absence from work due to the above restrictions will not be a valid reason for dismissal or variation of the employment terms; and
- employees’ failure to comply with a legitimate vaccination request from the employer will become a valid reason for dismissal.
Further details of the amendments are covered in our previous bulletin.
Employers should review their internal sick leave policies as well as Covid-related workplace policies in response to the passage of the Bill.
Employers are also encouraged to remain flexible and consider what, if any, reasonable accommodations can be made in light of an employee’s particular circumstances.