25 September 2023

HONG KONG: Typhoon creates PS confusion

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The Hong Kong Government is to examine the existing guidelines on working arrangements for Public Servants during adverse weather in the wake of confusion over Typhoon Mangkhut.

In a letter to PS staff, the Government’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam said there was a need for flexibility when dealing with staff who could not make it to work.

Officials from some Top of FormDepartments, including the Trade and Industry Department, received the notice reminding them to handle colleagues’ attendance after typhoons with flexibility a day after it was issued by the Civil Service Bureau.

Chief Executive of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting said the delay came as no surprise as the Government’s internal notices were usually sent to staff through multiple layers in the chain of command.

He said most of the Government’s internal notices, including those from the Civil Service Bureau, were initially sent to Department heads, who subsequently passed them to section heads and so on down the ranks.,

“Those section heads will then forward the notice to relevant officers. There is a possibility that those section heads were not in the office, or did not forward it to relevant officers quickly enough,” Mr Leung said

With no advice to stay at home, PS staff complained about the chaos they faced in their journeys to work amid large-scale suspensions of rail and bus services caused by Typhoon Mangkhut, the most intense typhoon in the city on record.

A spokesperson for the Civil Service Bureau did not comment on the delay in sending out the notice to some Departments.

The spokesperson said the existing guideline for post-typhoon work arrangements stipulated that supervisors should handle each case with flexibility.

Ms Lam expressed gratitude to Government workers for their efforts following the typhoon, saying “we were able to ride out the storm”.

Hong Kong, 22 September, 2018

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