Amendments under the ECO to recognise certification given by registered Chinese medicine practitioners have come into operation on 1 September 2008

The amendments to the Employees' Compensation Ordinance ("the ECO") (Cap.282) made under the Certification for Employee Benefits (Chinese Medicine) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2006 ("the Amendment Ordinance") have come into operation on 1 September 2008. The amendments are applicable to employees whose injuries, including occupational diseases as prescribed by the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, caused by accidents arising out of and in the course of employment happening on or after the aforesaid effective date.

The objective of the amendments is to recognise the medical treatment, examination and certification given by registered Chinese medicine practitioners for the purpose of employees' entitlement to benefits under the ECO. Registered Chinese medicine practitioners are persons who are registered under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap.549) and whose names appear on the Register of Chinese Medicine Practitioners.

According to the Amendment Ordinance, an employee who sustains an injury happening on or after 1 September 2008 as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment and seeks treatment from a registered Chinese medicine practitioner, is eligible for periodical payments for his period of absence from duty by the employer if the registered Chinese medicine practitioner takes the view that the employee is temporarily incapacitated from work and a sick leave certificate is issued in due course.

If an employee covered by the new provisions is injured at work and receives treatment from a registered Chinese medicine practitioner, the employer is liable to pay him the medical expenses up to a certain statutory limit as he does for employees receiving treatment from registered medical practitioners and registered dentists currently.

Apart from the major amendments above, other amendments to be commenced include stipulations on medical examinations. For an employer who requires an employee injured at work on or after 1 September 2008 to undergo a medical examination, such examination shall be conducted by a practitioner from the same description of medical discipline as that received by the employee. On the supplying and fitting of artificial items supporting the function of the body and the appointment of members of boards, registered Chinese medicine practitioners shall have similar functions as registered medical practitioners and registered dentists in these aspects.

In tandem with the commencement of provisions under the ECO, similar amendments under the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance ("the PMCO")(Cap.360) have also come into operation on 1 September, 2008. Beneficiaries under this ordinance shall be able to seek treatment from registered Chinese medicine practitioners and have their medical expenses for the treatment of pneumoconiosis and/or mesothelioma reimbursed.

The Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong ("the CMC") has in 2004 drawn up a Reference Guide on Issuance of Sick Leave Certificates by Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners ("the Reference Guide"). The Reference Guide sets out the common diseases/injuries and corresponding suggestions on the duration of sick leave for the reference of registered Chinese medicine practitioners. The Reference Guide can be downloaded from the homepage of the CMC: http://www.cmchk.org.hk.

(1) Please click here for more information on the amendments under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance to recognise certification given by registered Chinese medicine practitioners

(2) Please click here for more information on the amendments under the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance to recognise certification given by registered Chinese medicine practitioners

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