Cool reception for work rules bill

Local | Charlotte Luo 26 Jun 2019

Labor-sector lawmaker Michael Luk Chung-hung's private bill to make it compulsory for bosses to allow employees not to go to work during extreme situations has failed to win government backing.

Undersecretary for Labour and Welfare Caspar Tsui Ying-wai said legislation is a one-size-fits-all approach and is not the most effective way to solve the issue as the job nature varies for different vocations, and has a varying impact on transport.

The Labour Department has issued guidelines to employers, asking them to allow workers not to start heading to work until two hours after the removal of the No 8 typhoon signal. But the guidelines are not legally binding and have been criticized as being a "toothless tiger" by lawmakers.

Luk proposed the private bill to deal with work suspension in natural disasters and other emergencies.

"A lot of people were forced to go to work while it was not safe," Luk said.

The bill proposed establishing a committee to deal with natural disasters and other emergencies.

The committee would also be responsible for establishing work suspension guidelines.

Luk said the committee can decide whether to issue suspension notices, depending on the severity of the disaster or emergency, including traffic being paralyzed.

The bill also proposed revising the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, whereby staff members are entitled to compensation for injuries they suffer on their way to work and when they leave four hours before or after a red or black rainstorm warning, or typhoon signal is hoisted.

Several lawmakers supported the legislation and criticized the current guidelines for not being legally binding.

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