Employment Contracts

Labelling a Bonus as “Discretionary” doesn’t mean it is Absolutely Discretionary

Background It is common for Hong Kong employment agreements to describe a bonus as “discretionary” or “gratuitous’ in nature. The employer’s objective is to retain sole and absolute discretion to decide whether to award a bonus and if so, to decide the amount to be awarded. However, the line between discretionary and non-discretionary bonuses can

Felda Yeung Co-Writes Article on Employee Misconduct for Human Resources Online

Felda Yeung has co-written an article on employee misconduct in the digital age with Davin Teo and Henry Chambers from Alvarez & Marsal. In the article, they explore how whether in a physical or remote setting, employers should regularly assess and identify the trending misconduct issues within their organisations and examine existing policies. The article

Stop, Start, Change of Heart – Pulling out of an Employment Contract Between Acceptance and Commencement

The path between accepting a new job and commencing the new role should be simple. And in most cases it is. But there are significant implications if either party (individual or employer) changes its mind and decides not to proceed with the employment at some point between acceptance of the offer and the legal commencement of the employment. A recent Court of Appeal decision sheds important light on this often overlooked area.

Employment Spotlight: Can an Employer Vary the Terms of an Employee’s Employment Agreement Without the Employee’s Consent?

In light of COVID-19, many employers have been considering ways to reduce their overhead costs. Employees’ wages often account for a large share of the employer’s expenses, consequently, employees are increasingly being asked to vary their employment terms by agreeing to take no pay leave and/or a reduction to their wages. Often these requests are premised as an alternative to redundancy. This article examines the rights of both employers and employees in a relation to a variation of the employment contract.

Employment Spotlight: Confidentiality Clauses in Settlement Agreements

A settlement agreement (also known as a separation agreement) is a legally binding contractual document which sets out the employer’s and employee’s agreed terms of the termination of the employee’s employment. There is no statutory requirement to enter into a settlement agreement upon termination, however, where separation terms can be agreed, it is often helpful to confirm those terms in writing. Typically, a term of the settlement agreement will be to keep the terms and the fact of the agreement confidential. In this note, we consider the effect of a breach of a confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement and discuss factors that may be useful for drafting a confidentiality clause.

Employment Update: Work Arrangements during Typhoons and Rainstorms

One of the changes brought about by Covid-19 is a shift in work practices particularly in relation to working from home. This has brought to the fore the question of whether employees have to work in the case of adverse weather conditions such as Black Rainstorm warnings, Typhoon signal 8 (or above) and/or “extreme conditions” caused by super typhoons (“Adverse Weather”). In this article, we consider arrangements that employers may consider putting in place during Adverse Weather conditions.