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Sickness Allowance and Employment Protection under Anti-Epidemic Measures

The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 comes into operation on 17 June 2022.

Major amendments include:

  • A sickness day under the Employment Ordinance (EO) includes a day on which an employee is absent from work by reason of his/her compliance with a specific requirement that imposes a restriction on movement under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599) (e.g. the restriction imposed by an isolation order, a quarantine order or a “restriction-testing declaration”, while the restriction imposed on persons arriving at Hong Kong is not included). 
    • Proof required: Hard copy or electronic form of document, and electronic data issued by the Government, showing the name of employee, or information that could identify the identity of employee; the type of restriction imposed afore-mentioned; and the commencement and expiry dates of such restriction.
    • Employers are required to grant sickness allowance to eligible employees.*

(*Employed under a continuous contract, sick leave taken is not less than 4 consecutive days, accumulated sufficient number of paid sickness days and the sick leave is supported by the above required proof.)

  • Dismissal of an employee by reason of the employee’s absence from work due to his/her compliance with the above-mentioned restriction is considered as unreasonable dismissal under EO.
  • When an employer makes a COVID-19 vaccination request in writing, an employee, who is not being exempted from the request, is dismissed because of his/her failure to produce the proof of having received COVID-19 vaccine within 56 days from the date of the making of the request, the dismissal is not considered as unreasonable dismissal under EO. Relevant provisions will be repealed when the pandemic is under control and vaccination is no longer a matter of grave public health concern.
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