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The Hong Kong SAR government has urged employers to allow flexible work arrangements for employees. 

As a number of COVID-19 cases have now been detected in the community, the Hong Kong government has appealed to employers to allow flexible work arrangements for employees in accordance with their operational needs, and to consider not requiring employees to return to the office but to work from home where practicable.

In a press release issued on Thursday (13 January), the government said, "This will help maintain good labour-management relations and reduce the risk of spreading the disease. In the meantime, employers should review the work arrangements taking into account the latest situation."

It also asked employers to be compassionate and show understanding should staff encounter practical difficulties arising from the current epidemic situation. For example, being lenient when it comes to childcare.


ALSO READ: Tighter measures in Hong Kong from 7 Jan 2022 given first locally-transmitted case in months, employers urged to implement WFH


On Tuesday (11 January), the Education Bureau (EDB) announced that all primary schools, kindergartens, and care centres should suspend face-to-face classes and all on-campus activities on or before Friday (January 14) until schools' Chinese New Year holidays. 

The government also encouraged employers to maintain good communication on work arrangements with employees who are subject to compulsory quarantine or compulsory testing requirements, including granting them paid leave, or where practicable allowing them to work from locations other than workplaces.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said there was no need to formulate policies on whether businesses need to work from home and that each company can make its own assessments. She added that after two years (of fighting the pandemic), large companies especially will already have developed internal policies to follow and that she hopes people will not wait for the government before instituting work-from-home arrangements.

The government has informed the heads of departments that work from home can be implemented for some civil servants who are from departments that are not part of the core anti-epidemic measures. 

Meanwhile the South China Morning Post reports (today - 14 January) that Hong Kong's ban on evening dine-in services will be extended another two weeks until the Lunar New Year, citing a government source. More details are expected when the Chief Executive addresses the press on Friday afternoon. Details on pandemic relief funding for affected businesses are also expected.


ALSO READ: Reaching capacity: Hong Kong shortens time in government-approved quarantine centre for close contacts


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