2. Are there any legal stipulations about human resources management that apply to running a business in Hong Kong?
Some of the important legal matters concerning human resources management are laid out in the following answer.
The common law (case law) and various statutes (such as the Employment Ordinance and the Minimum Wage Ordinance) give employees the following rights and obligations:
- Implied rights concerning rest days, holidays, maternity leave, paternity leave, wage protection, dismissal with notice or wages in lieu of notice, severance and long service payment. Implied rights are rights that are granted to employees even if they are not expressly stated in their contract of employment (please refer to the Employment Disputes topic for further details).
- The obligation to take reasonable care when performing their job duties, to be honest to their company, to be obedient to relevant job commands and to maintain the confidentiality of the company's restricted information.
Mandatory Provident Fund and Occupational Retirement Schemes
All employers are required to join a mandatory provident fund or occupational retirement scheme for their employees under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance and the Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance. Employers must make contributions to the funds in accordance with the relevant rules. More information is available from the website of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority.
Care should be taken when offering employment and formulating human resources policy to avoid violation of the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance and the Race Discrimination Ordinance. More information is available in the Anti-discrimination topic.
Employers may be liable for the negligence of their employees. For example, if an employee negligently damages a customer's property, then the employer may be liable to pay compensation to that customer. Appropriate insurance should be taken out to cover these risks.
Protective industrial and occupational safety law
The Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance gives the Commissioner for Labour the authority to make detailed industrial safety rules. It is a criminal offence for an employer to terminate, threaten to terminate or in any way discriminate against an employee who speaks out against the working, health and safety conditions in their factory. Non-industrial employers also have a general common law duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulation set out requirements to protect the safety and health of employees in workplaces (both industrial and non-industrial). Employers must also insure against their potential liability for their employees under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (a no-fault accident compensation scheme that is financed by a compulsory levy imposed on all employers in Hong Kong, but that does not cover independent contractors or outworkers). More information is available in the Employment Disputes topic.
Employers must take out business insurance policies that cover employees compensation, fire and all risks (or general liability), product liability, professional indemnity, motor vehicles (third-party risks) and group healthcare, etc.