- In this case, if employees need compulsory quarantine, can they apply for paid sick leave?
- If employees are confirmed with COVID-19, can they get paid sick leave?
- How many days can paid sick leave be accumulated?
- Can an employer terminate an employee who is on paid sick leave for being a confirmed case of COVID-19?
The current epidemic in Hong Kong is generally stable, and most of them are imported cases. However, there have been outbreaks of infections in small groups in recent months, so you must still take it seriously! Professor YUEN Kwok-Yung, Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, said that there are reasons to believe that there are many invisible chains of infection happening within communities. As long as there is a superspreader, the situation will deteriorate rapidly.
In this case, if employees need compulsory quarantine, can they apply for paid sick leave?
This inevitably reminds people that during SARS in 2003, if employees received a quarantine order issued by the Department of Health or asked them to have daily physical examinations for a certain period of time and were unable to go to work, they were entitled to paid sick leave that covered by the Employment Ordinance(EO).
However, as the Labour Department currently does not have any special guidelines on compulsory quarantine and only recommends that employers handle it flexibly, so employees cannot apply for paid sick leave due to quarantine reasons. In this special period, whether employees can apply for paid sick leave depends on the agreement made by two parties.
If employees are confirmed with COVID-19, can they get paid sick leave?
Yes, they can. According to the EO, employees who are confirmed with COVID-19 are entitled to paid sick leave.
How many days can paid sick leave be accumulated?
An employee can accumulate paid sickness days depending on the years of the service. Paid sickness days can be accumulated throughout the whole employment period, but shall not exceed 120 days at any one time. According to The Labour Department, paid sickness days are accumulated at the rate of two paid sickness days for each completed month of the employee’s employment during the first 12 months, and four paid sickness days for each completed month of employment thereafter.
Can an employer terminate an employee who is on paid sick leave for being a confirmed case of COVID-19?
No, they can’t. Summary dismissal only applies to cases where an employee has committed very serious misconduct. An employer shall not dismiss an employee whilst the employee is on paid sick leave. Otherwise, an employer is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$100,000.
Companies have different leave policies for employees. For example, additional paid sick leave.
Some companies will pay extra to employees every month, but not all companies. Therefore, whether it is paid sick leave for the company’s internal benefits or paid sick leave under labor laws, HR also needs to understand the calculation method, in what circumstance employees are entitled to paid sick leave, etc.
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