What employment guarantees are there under the epidemic prevention measures? Is there a sickness allowance due to absence from work due to quarantine orders, enclosure testing?

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In response to the development of the epidemic, the epidemic prevention measures are constantly updated. Meanwhile, the revised Employment Ordinance also came into effect on June 17 this year. What are the employment protections in the Amendment Ordinance? If an employee is absent from work or even fired due to the epidemic prevention regulations, what kind of employment protection can they enjoy? This article will summarize the contents of the Employment (Amendment) Regulations 2022.

What employment guarantees are there under the epidemic prevention measures?

The epidemic has not slowed down, and many epidemic prevention measures are still maintained. In view of this, on June 17 this year, the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 was officially passed by the Legislative Council and came into effect.

According to the information on the Labour Department’s website, under the premise of the original Employment Ordinance, amendments have been made to enhance employee protection under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599). The major revisions include:

Absence from work due to isolation, quarantine?

If the scope of activities of an employee is restricted due to compliance with specified requirements of the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599), such as by a quarantine order, a quarantine order or a Restriction and Testing Declaration (i.e., enclosed testing), but not Employers are required to provide sickness allowances to eligible employees in the event of absence from work including restrictions imposed on arrivals.

What is an eligible employee? As long as the employee is employed under a continuous contract, has taken at least 4 consecutive days of sick leave, has accrued sufficient paid sick leave, and is able to produce the following proofs, he or she is considered to be a “qualified employee” as described above:

• A government-issued document in written or electronic form, or electronic data, showing the employee’s name or information identifying the employee, the type of restrictions above, and the start and end dates of the restrictions.

Fired due to epidemic prevention measures?

If an employee is absent from work for complying with the above restrictions and is dismissed as a result, it is unreasonable dismissal under the Employment Ordinance.

In addition, if the employer issues a written request to an employee to be vaccinated against the new crown, and the employee is not an exempt person, within 56 days from the date of the request, if he fails to produce proof of the new crown vaccination and is dismissed, it is not a non-exemption. Reasonable dismissal.

The above provisions will be repealed when the epidemic is under control and vaccination no longer constitutes a major public health concern.

As for what is exempted, the Ordinance states that the following people are exempted when their employers require vaccination against COVID-19:

• are pregnant;

• breastfeeding;

• issued with a specified medical exemption certificate Vaccine Pass (within the meaning of regulation 17 of the Regulation) certifying that the employee is unfit for vaccination within the compliance period; or

• Holds a specified discharge or recovery certificate certifying that the employee was diagnosed with a specified disease on a specified date within 6 months prior to the date on which the request is to be made.

What are the consequences of breaching the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022?

If an employer fails to comply with the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 and dismisses without reasonable excuse or fails to pay sickness allowance to an eligible employee, the offender is liable to criminal prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of up to $50,000.

If employers or employees are interested in learning more relevant information, they may refer to “Sickness Allowance and Employment Protection under Epidemic Prevention Measures – Introduction to the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022” or the “Information Leaflet”.

The above information is for reference only. If you have any questions about tax declaration and accounting, we welcome your inquiries.

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