Human Resources Crisis Management Experience Sharing in Hong Kong
How to prepare, face and take action for the COVID-19 crisis:
- When they notified for COVID-19 in the end of January, some of our clients immediately took actions, such as meeting with senior managements of all departments, collect questions from them, then prepare the answers and pass the solutions back to the management, bought mass to all the staff, cancel un-necessary gathering, arrange e-meeting and prepared for any worst situations happen.
- Send updated notice to internal staff, partners and clients.
- Find possible solutions to help the clients in the most influence industries.
What are the HR and legal obligations under COVID-19 in Hong Kong?
- Updating guidelines to employees
- Employer has to pay attention to the following things. First, is occupational safety and healthiness? Office and environment is safety for work? Enough mass and sterilizing fluid provide to staff? Second, observe for employment contract to pay salary on time and keep the same benefits to the staff. Third, stick to employment ordinance. Consider that insurance cover is enough? Also, remember to report to labour department for any staff is infection of COVID-19. Forth, personal privacy, such as temperature record of every staff and e-meeting record online, etc.
- Can employee refuse to work at office? If employer can provide a safe and healthiness environment at office, then employee cannot refuse. But we have to understand why the employee refuse to work. Maybe transportation problem, afraid to influence of COVID-19, or any restriction occurred. If no Government’s restriction and only personal problem, the employee should take annual leave for refuse to work.
- Work at home (1st time do it in Hong Kong). It is most as same as working at office: working time, working task, working situation, such as cannot go outside somewhere during working hours, etc. While, salary pay, benefits should be remained the same as office. But if like receptionists, they are not possible to work at home, then employer must give a written notice to such employees not less than 14 days before to arrange 80% salary or to assign no pay leave; otherwise, the employer still have to pay them in full and the same benefit. Besides, no pay leave have to agree by both sides.
- If layoff employee due to COVID-19, it will be the same as the normal layoff, we have to follow the employment ordinance.
- We also have to look for insurance. Is it enough protection to our employees? Take review with the agent and should we add for extra one?
- Annual leave: can employer ask an employee to take annual leave / statutory annual leave? Yes, but you have to give a written notice to the employee 14 days before.
- Sick leave: we have to follow by the employment ordinance.
- Others: If we make redundancy during this pandemic situation, there is no any time limit to set for re-hiring the same position. But we have to consider to re-hire the same person for the same position (he/she should be the 1st priority person).
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