What is a work accident? Does the employer also compensate for work-related injuries while traveling to and from the workplace?

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If an employee is injured or dies due to an accident at work during his employment, the employer is generally liable for compensation under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance. Accidents are inevitable, but you may ask, what counts as a work-related injury? This article will summarize three of the most frequently asked questions by employees for your reference.

How does the law define work-related accidents?

All full-time or part-time employees employed under employment contracts and apprenticeship contracts, regardless of hours worked, are also covered by the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance. If they have an accident, death, or even a specified occupational disease during the performance of the contract (even if the accident is caused by the employee’s fault or negligence), it can be regarded as a “work accident”.

According to the law, employers are required to purchase compensation insurance from their employed employees, otherwise they shall not allow the employees to engage in the work, and shall bear the relevant legal responsibilities and be responsible for paying compensation for work-related injuries. This provision also applies when employers employ non-local employees.

The classification of work-related injuries can mainly refer to the “Introduction to the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance”, which is generally divided into the following categories:

• A one-time accident, such as a fall at work;

• Strain injury (injury to the body due to repeated repetition of the same movement);

• Occupational diseases.

Is travel to and from work not covered?

It should be noted that under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, employees’ travel to and from the workplace is generally not considered to be covered by labor insurance. However, if the employee unfortunately encounters the following circumstances, it will be regarded as a work-related accident:

• The employee is travelling as a passenger on a transport operated or arranged by the employer to and from the workplace (other than public transport);

• The employee is driving or operating transportation arranged or provided by the employer on direct journeys to and from his residence and place of work due to his work relationship;

• During the period when Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above or Red/Black Rainstorm Warning is in force, the employee travels from his residence to his place of work by direct route within four hours before the start of his working hours on that day, or during his work on that day Within four hours after the end of time, on the way from his place of work to his place of residence;

• The employee, with the permission of the employer, travels between Hong Kong and a place outside Hong Kong, or between any place outside Hong Kong and any other place, by any means of transport for and in connection with the work for which he is employed.

Not a work-related injury? Employers are not required to compensate.

Conversely, under what circumstances are employers not required to compensate for work-related injuries? Employers are not necessarily required to make compensation if the employee:

• The injury sustained by the employee does not prevent the employee from working and earning normal wages as a result of the injury, unless the injury results in permanent incapacity;

• Employee deliberately injures himself;

• The employee is incapacitated or dies due to injury, and the employee has declared to the employer that he has not suffered or has never suffered from such injury (including suffering from occupational diseases specified in the Ordinance), knowing that the declaration made by the employee is false;

• An accident resulting in an employee’s injury that was directly attributable to the employee’s drug addiction or the effects of alcohol at the time of the accident, and the injury did not result in death or serious and permanent incapacity.

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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