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Employment

Publication

Redundancy in Hong Kong – Payments and notification obligations

23 July 2021

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In the last of this series, we consider the standard payments owed to an employee on termination as well as employers' notification obligations to government entities in Hong Kong on the cessation of employment.

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Publication

Hong Kong employment – Court of Appeal on interpretation of contracts and (3 – 0) on penalties

Published on 16 July 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner and Sakshi Buttoo, Registered Foreign Lawyer

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The Hong Kong Court of Appeal’s recent judgment (of three judges) in Law Ting Pong Secondary School v Chen [2021] HKCA 873 is an interesting judgment that: (i) summarises and applies the relevant principles of contractual interpretation; and (ii) found that a clause providing for termination by payment in lieu of a notice period does not engage the law on penalty clauses and, even if it does, such a provision is unlikely to be regarded as unenforceable (unless it is unconscionable or extravagant).

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Publication

Redundancy in Hong Kong – An employee's guide to the legal and practical considerations

Published on 07 July 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner and Sakshi Buttoo, Registered Foreign Lawyer

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In this article, we will consider an employee's rights in the event that they are told that their role is being made redundant. We will also examine the consequences of receiving notice of redundancy, offers of alternative employment and/or separation agreements, as well as claims an employee may commence against their employer as a result of their cessation of employment.

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Blog

What is "mutuality of obligation" and why does it matter in the world of work?

Published on 22 June 2021. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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Any business which needs work to be done for it makes a choice as to how that work is procured and delivered.

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Publication

Redundancy in Hong Kong – An employer's guide to the law, process and practical considerations

Published on 02 June 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner and Sakshi Buttoo, Registered Foreign Lawyer

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For a lot of companies, the last 18 months in Hong Kong has been undoubtably challenging. As a result of the uncertainties with the protests, lack of international travel and the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been looking at making redundancies in order to survive.

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Publication

Redundancy – The law in Hong Kong

Published on 18 May 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner and Sakshi Buttoo, Registered Foreign Lawyer

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In the current climate, it is inevitable that some employers may have to contemplate making redundancies to trim overhead costs in order to survive. Many industries in Hong Kong have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, forcing employers to make difficult decisions in respect of business operations and the retention of employees.

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Publication

Employing workers in Hong Kong

Published on 22 April 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner and Sakshi Buttoo, Registered Foreign Lawyer

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Although Hong Kong’s employment laws are relatively straight forward and consistent with international norms, there are a number of unique provisions which companies employing workers in Hong Kong should be aware of.

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Blog

The future world of work – a recipe for success

Published on 21 April 2021. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just released its report, “Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK: 2011 to 2020”. The report lands at a key moment, as leaders across all sectors look to define – and redefine – the future of work and the role of the workplace in the post-pandemic era. The findings are illuminating.

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Blog

Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme in Hong Kong

Published on 12 April 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner and Sakshi Buttoo, Registered Foreign Lawyer

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Hong Kong's statutory maternity leave has been extended from 10 weeks to 14 weeks with effect from 11 December 2020. From 1 April 2021, the Hong Kong Government has started accepting applications to reimburse employers' payment in respect of the extended period of maternity leave.

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Publication

Employment Law Changes in 2020 and What to Expect in 2021

Published on 24 March 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner

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2020 has brought about a significant number of changes to working life in Hong Kong. In light of the protests and COVID-19, there has been a widespread adoption of working from home ("WFH"). In addition, there has been new legislation enhancing the statutory rights of employees. In this article, we provide a review of these changes in 2020 and set out what we are to expect in 2021.

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Publication

COVID-19 – Key vaccine considerations for employers

Published on 17 March 2021. By Andrea Randall, Partner

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There have been a number of articles which have considered Hong Kong employers' rights to direct their workforce to be tested and vaccinated against COVID-19. The general consensus amongst legal practitioners in Hong Kong is that there is no statutory right to direct an employee to undergo testing and vaccination.

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Blog

Is the promise of a severance payment a reasonable adjustment?

Published on 07 August 2020. By Kim Wright, Senior Associate and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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In this busy time, HR professionals would be forgiven for thinking that nothing beyond the realms of coronavirus is receiving any attention, however cases are still being decided and one Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case, regarding employers' duties to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, is worth some further consideration.

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Blog

The summer of discontent?

Published on 31 July 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Ben Roberts, Partner

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What comes to mind when you hear the word "summer"? The unbridled joy of no more school for 6 whole weeks? Buckets, spades and wind-swept beaches? Perhaps the call of a sun-soaked tropical island? For most, summer means taking some time out to recharge and switch off.

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Blog

COVID-19 legal update – Your workforce: Could workers who can work from home (and their employers) break the law by returning to the workplace too soon?

Published on 20 May 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Joanna Holford, Senior Associate

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The government has stated that that those who can work from home should do so and those who cannot should go to work. Is it an offence to go to the place of work when it is possible to work from home?

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Blog

COVID-19 HK: Employment Update

Published on 14 April 2020. By Jason Carmichael, Partner and Beverly Yee, Senior Associate

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is anticipated that more and more businesses will need to make plans for cost-cutting measures.

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Blog

COVID-19: Your workforce – furloughing - act to mitigate the risk of exposure to tax evasion offences as scheme could be open to abuse

Published on 09 April 2020. By Alice Kemp, Senior Associate (Employed Barrister)

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Jim Harra, Chief Executive at HMRC, has informed a Treasury Committee meeting that he expects the government's multi-billion pound employee furlough scheme to be targeted by criminals seeking to exploit the £60 billion pledged in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's unprecedented Coronavirus protection package.

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Blog

Hot off the Press: COVID-19 - Your workforce: a Q&A on claiming for wage costs through the Job Retention Scheme

Published on 27 March 2020. By Patrick Brodie, Partner and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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On 26th March, HMRC issued guidance on claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We explore some answers to key questions and add some questions of our own.

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Blog

COVID-19 Your workforce: a caution against putting equality on the backburner

Published on 27 March 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Rachel Pears, Inclusion & Diversity Lead / Internal Employment Counsel

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UK business, like much of the rest of the world, is and will, for some time, remain firmly in the grip of COVID-19's tentacles.

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Blog

COVID 19 Your workforce: What on earth is "furlough"?

Published on 24 March 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Patrick Brodie, Partner

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Meaning of furlough, especially in the context of companies dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

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Blog

COVID-19 Your workforce: pay and costs - practical ideas our clients are exploring

Published on 24 March 2020. By Patrick Brodie, Partner and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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COVID-19 Your workforce: pay and costs - practical ideas our clients are exploring. These are extraordinary times that place extraordinary pressures on all of us, including dealing with your workforce. We set out below some ideas that we are hearing about from our clients and some areas you may wish to think about in terms of your employee costs.

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Blog

COVID-19 Your workforce: supporting mental health when home working

Published on 24 March 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Patrick Brodie, Partner

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COVID-19 Your workforce: supporting mental health when home working. Many of us are working from home during this crisis and while this can be an effective way of working for some, it is less happy for others; loneliness, caring for vulnerable dependants and challenging home environments are all being experienced. There may be members of your teams who fall into these categories.

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Blog

Sharpen your blue pencil: the doctrine of severance in employment cases

Published on 15 August 2019. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Patrick Brodie, Partner

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In Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd [2019] UKSC 32, one such business asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the law and to change it to be fit for modern day purposes. In its landmark judgment handed down in July, the Supreme Court has done so. The core facts of the case are not unusual. Egon Zehnder (EZ) is a global specialist executive search and recruitment business. EZ recruited Mary-Caroline Tillman in 2004. As the High Court judge observed, the company regarded Ms Tillman as “a bit special”. She was recruited into a senior role on a salary of £120,000 and first year bonus of £100,000 and then rose steadily through the ranks of the organisation. By 2012, Ms Tillman was joint global head of the company’s financial services practice and a shareholder in the Swiss holding company.

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Blog

Put your little stone in the great mosaic

Published on 07 March 2018. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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IWD is a day designed to galvanize such desire for change into real, sustainable action by people, by business and by government. And on Thursday 8th March many of us will pause for thought. In our reflections, one question will come up time and time again: what can I actually do to improve gender equality?

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Video

Gender Pay Gap Reporting – are you ready?

27 April 2016

Hear Patrick Brodie and Kelly Thomson discuss the requirements on businesses to comply with Gender Pay Gap Reporting legislation.

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Publication

Some holiday pay reading

26 February 2016

A new decision on holiday pay and commission.

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Publication

Employment update, December 2015

09 February 2016

Implied terms: when can a term be implied into a contract?

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Publication

Employment update, November 2015

17 December 2015

Penalty clauses: what is the test where a clause is claimed to be unenforceable?

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Publication

Employment update, October 2015

23 November 2015

Whistleblowing: A dispute about terms of employment can be a matter of “public interest”

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Publication

Employment update, September 2015

07 October 2015

HR assistance in disciplinary procedures: how much is too much?

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Blog

Restrictive Covenant Clause Enforced Despite it Containing a Drafting Error

17 April 2014

The High Court has just handed down its judgment in the case of Prophet Plc v Huggett.

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Blog

Different Emails, Read Together, Can be a Qualifying Whistleblowing Disclosure

21 March 2014

In the case of Norbrook Laboratories (2B) Limited v Shaw the EAT considered whether emails sent to different recipients could be taken as a whole to amount to a qualifying disclosure for the purposes of a whistleblowing claim.

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Blog

British National Working Overseas Has No Right to Bring a Claim in the Employment Tribunals

07 February 2014

For employers who engage staff to work overseas, determining whether the can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunals is becoming increasing difficult.

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Blog

Collective Redundancy Consultation: Expiry of Fixed Term Contract Does Not Count Towards 20+ Headcount

Published on 07 February 2014. By Patrick Brodie, Partner

University College v University of Stirling [2014] CSIH 5.

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Blog

Report Card

28 January 2013

We're casting our critical eye over the Government's employment law proposals and writing its school report.

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Blog

Faith and Freedom

27 January 2013

In a debate that has lasted several years, one of my colleagues and I have been at odds on the case of Lillian Ladele, the Islington registrar who refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

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