The Impact of COVID-19 on Employment Policies & Practices and the Latest on Travel To Mainland China

As COVID-19 continues to affect every aspect of our work lives, businesses are working at speed to deal with a host of issues arising from the crisis—from travel restrictions and remote working to health and safety policies.

With the situation changing daily, we know that it’s difficult to ensure your workplace complies with the latest government regulations and supports the needs of employees. That’s why we’re sharing advice from our Corporate Services teams in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Working with your HR Advisors to ensure employee safety

We help our clients develop procedures under “what-if” scenarios in order to prepare for potential disruption in the case that any employees and/or their family members and friends contract, or come into contact with COVID-19.

Besides the latest government guidelines to implement internal awareness, detection and sanitation procedures, it is also necessary to adapt existing work from home crisis policies (e.g. in the event of natural disasters such as a Typhoon).

Please reach out to us if you need to update your internal HR policies and employee handbooks in order to adapt to the new challenges posed by COVID-19.

How is COVID-19 affecting employment contracts in Hong Kong and mainland China?

Are your employment contracts adapted to the pandemic? Here are some frequently asked questions for you to consider:

What rights do employers have should an employee violate outbreak prevention measures?

  • According to Chinese law, for example, if an employee knowingly places their colleagues at risk by entering the workplace having contracted COVID-19, and refuses to leave, the employer has the right to terminate the work contract.

How should employees be paid in the case of absence from work during a period of quarantine?

  • In Hong Kong, for instance, 14-day quarantine upon entry is mandatory and as such, the Department of Health issues a medical certificate entitling them to sickness allowance. Employees are then entitled to ordinary remuneration.
  • Flexibility is encouraged. Short term policy changes will likely need to be put in place to accommodate employees with dependents. For example, school closures and childcare restrictions may disrupt family routines and lead to requests for flexible working hours.

Important update: the latest entry requirements for foreigners going to mainland China

The travel restrictions to China are causing problems for many of our partners and valued clients. Below you’ll find the latest updates on entry requirements for foreigners.

  • Effective from 28th September 2020, foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion are allowed to enter China without applying for a new visa.
  • If the above three categories of residence permits held by foreign nationals expired after 28th March 2020, the holders may apply for relevant visas by presenting the expired residence permits and relevant materials to Chinese embassies or consulates on the condition that the purpose of the holder’s visit to China remains unchanged.

Fiducia is here to help you keep your business running smoothly in these unsettled times. Please reach out to us if you would like further support with any issues relating to employment contracts, visas or HR policies.