Give sick workers rest days, bosses told

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am

The labour chief has demanded that employers allow sick workers to take rest days to guard against a possible outbreak of swine flu.

Personal and workplace hygiene were important, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said.

'If employees do not feel well and develop symptoms of sickness, it is very important for employers to be compassionate and flexible and give them sick leave and plenty of rest, because it is important to make sure the disease does not spread,' Mr Cheung said.

As to the length of sick leave employers should grant workers with symptoms, he said: 'It depends on the circumstances. It all depends on the gravity of the situation.'

He said the economic impact of the possible pandemic was still uncertain and he believed the service industry would be the most vulnerable because of its frequent dealings with the public.

The Hong Kong Chamber of Small and Medium Business, meanwhile, said it had reminded its members to be alert.

Oliver Yau Bun, chairman of the organisation's corporate governance committee, said: 'We have informed our members to advise their workers to adopt prevention measures in their workplace, and those who are on business trips overseas should be cautious about hygiene.'

A few members indicated that they would rely more on the telephone and internet to liaise with overseas clients rather than travel in person.