(5 min. read)
In business, corporations are constantly faced with market, financial, operational, management and political/regulatory risks that present real danger to their financial performance and reputation.
As such, increased emphasis has been placed on a range of potential employment-related issues, such as mental health and wellness, diversity and inclusion, technological and industrial reforms, as well as workplace challenges in connection with COVID-19.
We understand that every business relies on their employees to achieve their corporate goals and objectives and to grow and thrive. The relative interests of employers and employees therefore should to be considered accordingly.
Recent trends and practical considerations
Some recent trends and practical considerations for employers include the following:
- flexible working arrangements, including work-from-home (“WFH”) arrangements and relevant Guidance Notes issued by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (“PCPD”) entitled “Protecting Personal Data under Work-from-Home Arrangements” (30 Nov 2020);
- discriminatory acts by employers in connection with the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 487), Family Status Discrimination (Cap. 527) and Race Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 602);
- workplace safety and health protection under the Occupational Safety and health Ordinance (Cap. 509), including whether there is a right to mandate vaccinations and mask wearing in the workplace;
- increased awareness and emphasis on requirements as to mental wellness and physical health;
- sick leave and sickness-related allowance;
- handling of staff suspension, termination and severance, including during alleged regulatory/misconduct investigations);
- calculations of severance and long service payments under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57);
- data privacy concerns, including protection of IP following termination of employment); and
- setting proper policies and guidelines in place to adapt to the changing workplace and workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures will continue to impact business operations in the near term. Employers should exercise diligence to mitigate the risk of potential exposure to employment claims by:
- reviewing relevant legislation and regulatory guidance;
- revising and/or updating relevant firm policies;
- anticipating potential claims by employees; and
- dealing with any employment-related issues timely and effectively.
Contact us if you wish to discuss ways to adapt in our constantly evolving work environment, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to assist with issues concerning:
- Contracts of employment, service agreements and Human Resources handbooks
- Data privacy and access to information
- Discrimination and harassment claims
- Disputes / litigation concerning employment
- Employment benefits and executive compensation, including incentive plans
- Employment policies and procedures (including COVID-19 related guidelines)
- Immigration law (including visas, work permits)
- Investigations in respect of misconduct and/or alleged regulatory breaches
- Labour law aspects concerning corporate finance transactions
- Pay, pensions and employment equity
- Redundancies and dismissals (including communications with staff)
- Workplace health and safety guidelines
This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be substituted for, legal advice, which turns on specific facts.