HK$67m compensation package for medical staff
About 5,600 public hospital nurses and other staff will receive compensation for being on call on public holidays or days off from 2004 to 2009, the Hospital Authority said yesterday.
The one-off HK$67 million compensation package will cover both present staff and those who left their jobs. A compensation system for off-site call duty was introduced in 2009.
An authority spokesman said the payments were a token of recognition for its staff. Since a court ruling awarded public doctors similar compensation in 2010, the authority decided that other medical staff should benefit as well.
The scheme covers 2,400 nurses, 1,600 allied health professionals and 1,600 administrative and support staff. Notification letters will be sent out to eligible staff in the next few days. The authority will also let eligible former staff know about the compensation scheme through newspaper advertisements and online notices.
The authority approved the scheme in January after consultation with management and staff representatives. Compensation was calculated on the same basis for all staff.
In 2010, more than 4,000 public doctors were offered between HK$8,000 and HK$100,000 in arrears for being on call on public holidays or on days off from 2004 to 2009.
The Court of Final Appeal ruled in 2009 that public doctors were entitled to a day off if they were required to be on call on public holidays or on their days off, even if they were not called out.
The court held that a doctor was deprived of a rest day in such circumstances because that person had to be close enough to a hospital to be able to get there within 30 minutes, could not drink alcohol and had to be ready to respond to calls. But it rejected doctors' claims for pay or time off for working overtime.