Month: February 2021

SFC Enforcement Action and Investigative Powers

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is an independent non-governmental statutory body whose authority is to regulate Hong Kong’s financial markets. The Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO)_came into operation in April 2003 and it contains civil and criminal provisions for dealing with financial misconduct.

Compulsory Testing and Lockdowns: What do Employers Need to Know?

The Hong Kong Government has lowered the threshold for compulsory COVID-19 testing to identify and curb the transmission chain of COVID-19 by implementing new measures under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) (“Regulation”). In this article, we consider the implications for employers and how to minimise the impact to their businesses.

China’s New Civil Code and its Impact on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The issue of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement in mainland China has burst into the spotlight again recently. Demonstrators defied restrictions on public protests and mass gatherings to collect outside a Beijing court in December in support of Zhou Xiaoxuan (“Zhou”), a young woman bringing a claim of sexual misconduct against Zhu Jun (“Zhu”), a well-known television presenter. Such cases are relatively rare and the high-profile nature of the man accused has resulted in significant attention within China and beyond. The timing coincides with the new PRC Civil Code taking effect on 1 January 2021. Article 1010 of the Civil Code establishes important new principles on what constitutes sexual harassment, expands the scope of recipients to include men, and introduces specific obligations and potential liability for employers in this area.

Managing Annual Leave in Hong Kong During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up many challenges for businesses. Severe and sustained travel restrictions, as well as other uncertainties, have resulted in many employees not taking time off and thus having significant accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements. This creates potential risk for companies. Productivity may be affected if employees all take extended or frequent breaks to use up rolled over leave when the situation eases. Similarly, risk management capability may be undermined if a large number of employees decide to take their leave at specific or peak times. So employers need to consider how to avoid risk and “log-jams” without breaching employee rights. In particular, if necessary, can they require employees to take or to forfeit annual leave?