On 15 June 2022, the Legislative Council passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2022. This is a significant step forward to address some of the issues which employers and employees have been facing over anti-epidemic measures.
The amendments will take effect on a date to be published in the Gazette. It is expected that the effective date will be available soon. The amendments will not have retrospective effect.
Summary of the amendments
Once the amendments take effect:
- A day on which an employee is absent from work due to the employee’s compliance with a Cap 599 restriction on movement requirement would be a sickness day in respect of which the employer would need to pay sickness allowance at the rate of four-fifths of the employee’s daily average wages if the employee meets the conditions for it. One such condition is that the employee would need to produce a document in a form prescribed by the government setting out his/her personal particulars and the details of the restriction imposed on him/her.
- An employee who fails to comply with a Legitimate Vaccination Request made by the employer will be regarded as being incapable of performing work of the kind that the employee was employed to do, and this would be a valid reason for dismissal or variation of the terms of the employment contract. This means that an employee who refuses to comply with a Legitimate Vaccinate Request could face the risk of their employment being terminated by the employer. To constitute a Legitimate Vaccination Request, the request must satisfy certain conditions. For example, the employer must give the employee 56 days to respond to the request.
- An employee’s absence from work due to the employee’s compliance with a Cap 599 restriction on movement requirement would be an invalid reason for dismissal or variation of the terms of the employment contract. This amendment only covers employees who have been employed under a continuous contract of employment for 2 or more years, and it means that such an employee would be protected from dismissal if he/she is subjected to compulsory quarantine or testing (other than compulsory quarantine on arrival to Hong Kong from overseas).
For more details on the amendments and how we could assist you, you may refer to our previous article on the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2022 here.
Please reach out to us if you wish to know more.