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Hong Kong's Legislative Council approves Employment Ordinance amendments to address employment issues arising from anti-epidemic measures

16 June 2022. Published by Andrea Randall, Partner and Lillian Wong, Associate

On 15 June 2022, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2022 ("Bill"), which was gazetted earlier in February this year. The purpose of the Bill is to address employment-related issues arising from the government's anti-epidemic measures.

The main amendments to the Employment Ordinance ("EO") under the Bill are:

  1. Absence from work due to compliance with a statutory restriction on movement, such as mandatory testing, quarantine or isolation, under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap 599A) or Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap 599J) ("Cap 599 Requirement"), will not be a valid reason for dismissal or variation of contract;

  2. Failure to comply with a legitimate vaccination request will be a valid reason for dismissal or variation of contract; and

  3. The EO's definition of “sickness day” is expanded to include a day on which an employee is absent from work by reason of his/her compliance with a Cap 599 Requirement.

The Bill will come into effect on a later date and its amendments will not have retrospective effect.

Employers should be aware of these amendments, review their internal policies where necessary and ensure that their administrative staff fully understand the effect of these changes.  When in doubt, employers should seek legal advice to ensure compliance with the law. 

Please refer to our previous article for more details on the Bill's amendments here

Our team at RPC are widely recognized as leading employment lawyers in Hong Kong. We are of the few specialist employment law practices in Hong Kong and we act for both employers and employees on contentious and non-contentious matters.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Partner and Head of the Employment Practice in Hong Kong, Andrea Randall ( / +852 2216 7208) for any queries regarding the issues raised in this article or any employment law related queries you may have. 

All material contained in this article is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, accounting, financial or tax advice, or as opinion to any person or specific case. RPC accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from action taken, or not taken, which may arise from reliance on information contained in this article. You are urged to seek legal advice concerning your own situation and any specific legal question that you may have.