Employer’s Guide: Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme

The Employment Ordinance, Cap. 57 was amended with effect from 11 December 2020 to increase statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Once the maternity leave pay (“MLP”) for the entire period is paid, employers are entitled to apply for reimbursement capped at HKD80,000 for the MLP corresponding to the 11th to 14th weeks under the Reimbursement of the Maternity Leave Pay Scheme (the “RMLP Scheme”). The RMLP Scheme announced by the Labour Department is now open for application.

Can an Employer Require its Employees to Test for COVID-19 in Hong Kong?

The rise in Covid-19 cases has left many employers in Hong Kong contemplating whether they can lawfully require their employees to undergo testing for Covid-19. In times like these, employers find themselves trying to balance their business interests and continuity on one hand, with employees’ concerns and sensitivities on the other. In this article we discuss factors that employers should consider when requesting or directing employees to undergo Covid-19 testing.

Remote Working from Overseas: Key Legal Implications Employers Should Know

Remote working arrangements have become prevalent in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic such as risk of infections, travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Many employers are also considering remote working as ‘the new normal’ given the reduced operational costs. For some employees, remote working may mean working overseas. In this article, we discuss the legal implications that employers in Hong Kong should have regard to before allowing their employees to work overseas.

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme: Employer Considerations

The Hong Kong government has commenced implementation of a COVID-19 vaccination programme intended to cover all Hong Kong residents across the territory. Vaccinations are offered free of charge with the stated aim of safeguarding public health and helping to allow further easing of restrictions and a gradual return to normal life and activities. At this stage, the rollout is prioritising vaccination of individuals within vulnerable and high-risk groups, such as the elderly and healthcare workers, but should extend to all groups during the course of this year.

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?