Management of quarantine, childcare and medical leave for employees affected by COVID-19.
Where an employee has contracted the disease, his employer should grant him sick leave in accordance with the Employment Ordinance (Cap.57) and the relevant employment contract. Where an employee is subjected to quarantine, but does not contract any disease during quarantine and therefore no sick leave being granted, the Employment Ordinance does not provide for wage arrangements in such circumstances. The HKSAR Gov encourages employers to be considerate and show understanding to such employees’ situation and make flexible arrangements, including where practicable allowing employees to work from home or granting paid leave to them.
Employees who fear infection and refuse to work.
The Employment Ordinance does not provide for absence from work out of fear of possible infection. However, it requires an employer not to assign to a pregnant employee duties injurious to her pregnancy if she can produce a medical certificate with an opinion indicating her unfitness to do such work. In view of the special situation, the employer should, as far as possible, work out with the pregnant employee mutually agreeable arrangements.
If an employee unreasonably refuses to work, it may be a ground for summary dismissal by the employer.
Disclosure of employees who are infected.
Employers do not have a statutory duty to report confirmed or suspected cases of infection. As Employers have responsibilities to protect the health of their employees and visitors, it is generally justifiable for employers to collect temperature measurements or limited medical symptoms of COVID-19 information of employees and visitors solely for the purposes of protecting the health of those individuals. The data collected should be necessary, appropriate and proportionate and must not be kept for longer than may be reasonably required. Personal data collected for fighting or combatting COVID-19 must not be used or disclosed for other unrelated purposes, unless express and voluntary consent is obtained from the individuals concerned or exemptions under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance apply. Disclosure of the name and personal particulars of an infected employee is generally considered as unnecessary and unproportionate use of personal data.