Workers who were sacked or lost pay for staying at home during the rain can seek help from two hotlines set up by the Labour Department yesterday. However, officials rejected unions' calls to force employers to allow workers to stay at home with pay during natural disasters. While authorities advised people to stay at home on Tuesday, many bosses told employees to report to work or lose a day's wages. Secretary for Education and Manpower Joseph Wong Wing-ping yesterday said a blanket requirement might be too rigid. 'Some professions still need their workers to show up for work, even in a No 8 typhoon,' Mr Wong said. 'An across-the-board requirement would cause the market to lose flexibility.' He and Acting Commissioner of Labour Alfred Chan Wing-kit advised companies to agree with employees the arrangements during typhoons and rainstorms. Elizabeth Tang Yin-ngor, chief executive of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said advising was not good enough. She said the law must be amended or there would be further confusion among workers on whether they should risk their safety to report to work. 'It's a natural calamity. It's out of their control, so they shouldn't be penalised for it,' Ms Tang said. The two hotlines (2852 3545 and 2852 3509) allow workers to lodge complaints and seek help.