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All government employees including civil servants, non-civil service contract staff and post-retirement service contract staff will benefit from the authorised absence arrangement.

The Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen announced in Monday's press conference that all government employees in Hong Kong including civil servants, non-civil service contract staff and post-retirement service contract staff can enjoy a paid day-off after every COVID-19 vaccine jab, starting 1 June 2021. The policy will last till all vaccinations taken on or before 31 August 2021. 

As both of the COVID-19 vaccine options in Hong Kong — BioNTech and SInovac require two doses, the gesture means that all government workers can have two extra day-offs this year in total.

To recognise the efforts made by those who already took the initiative to get the vaccines prior to the announcement, Nip said those who got inoculated on or before 31 May can also apply for one day-off that may be taken by 31 March 2022, for each dose received. 

Nip said as Hong Kong's largest employer, the government hopes to set an example with the vaccine incentive, prompting businesses in Hong Kong to follow suit. 

A spokesman for the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) said: "As the largest employer in Hong Kong, the Government has earlier implemented various measures to drive vaccination at full throttle, such as allowing staff to receive vaccination during duty hours and favourably handling applications for sick leave or vacation leave when staff experience side effects arising from vaccination, and adopting a vaccination in lieu of regular testing approach for front-line employees.

"While introducing the vaccination leave arrangement, we also appeal to employers of other enterprises to join the 'Early Vaccination for All' campaign by providing facilitation, where practicable, to their staff to receive vaccination, such as introducing vaccination leave arrangements, so that we can work together to build a protective barrier in Hong Kong as soon as possible through mass vaccination at this critical juncture."

In the same announcement, it was revealed that front-line employees who have received the first dose of a vaccine and provided their vaccination record could be exempted from regular testing. Those who are not vaccinated are required to undergo COVID-19 testing using combined nasal and throat swabs on a biweekly basis.
 
As of 31 May 2021, close to 21% of Hongkongers have finished their first dose of COVID-19 dose, while the average daily local COVID cases with unknown sources have reached zero for 37 consecutive days. 
 
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