26 September 2023

HONG KONG: PS penalties for unvaccinated workers

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Hong Kong Public Servants who have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccinations are to be forced to undergo virus testing every two weeks beginning this month (August).

The Civil Service Bureau sent an internal memo to all Public Servants stating that they must submit results of the first round of testing no later than 16 August.

The Bureau said Public Servants who had already received the first dose of vaccine, could be exempted from undergoing the test.

For this month, the cost of the tests can be claimed on expenses but workers are set to foot the bill if they were still unvaccinated after 1 September, they would also have to complete the test outside working hours.

“A member of staff who could not produce a valid COVID-19 vaccination record and has failed to undergo bi-weekly testing without reasonable cause is not only refusing to comply with directives from the management, but is also being irresponsible and inconsiderate to co-workers as well as the public being served,” the Bureau said.

The Bureau’s memo didn’t rule out further disciplinary action.

Chair of the Hong Kong Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting (pictured) said his federation and other Public Service unions were not consulted before the decision was announced.

“There are a lot of situations making employees feel worried,” Mr Leung said.

“It is difficult for those with long-term illness and pregnant women to obtain proof they are not suitable for vaccination,” he said.

Mr Leung said the Government’s decision was rushed, and many Public Servants who had contacted his Federation about the new requirement described it as a de facto compulsory vaccination program.

“A lot of them said it’s as if the Government wants to boost the vaccination rate, and that’s why they put Civil Servants on the spot,” he said.

Hong Kong, 4 August 2021

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