'Kwai Chung Estate residents being barred from work' - RTHK
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'Kwai Chung Estate residents being barred from work'

2022-01-28 HKT 13:11
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  • 'Kwai Chung Estate residents being barred from work'
Some residents of the coronavirus-hit Kwai Chung Estate are being barred from work even after lockdowns on their buildings are lifted, the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) said on Friday.

They say residents are being treated unfairly, and the government should ensure that anyone subjected to a mandatory lockdown can legally treat their work absences as sick leave.

The group said it has received 70 requests for assistance from residents of Kwai Chung Estate – the centre of the largest cluster of Omicron infections in Hong Kong.

One complainant reported that he was fired as soon as a five-day lockdown was announced for his building. Twenty-two others said they were forced to take unpaid leave during lockdowns, and 14 more claimed to have been suspended from work just because they live in the estate.

Labour-sector lawmaker Dennis Leung said the government should give a daily allowance of HK$700 to residents of buildings hit by multi-day lockdowns, and provide the needed paperwork to certify that they are eligible for sick leave.

He noted that people sent to the quarantine camp at Penny’s Bay can request sick leave certificates, and the same should apply in a lockdown.

“Because they are under the quarantine and under medical surveillance. They hope they can go to work, but they followed the government’s instructions to stay at their premises to take compulsory tests. So they should enjoy a document of medical certificate for them to take a medical leave and medical allowance,” he said.

He also urged employers to find ways to mitigate the risk of infection while still treating their staff fairly, such as finding separate work areas for people who live in buildings where outbreaks have been reported.

“Employers should find a way to solve the problem, not just suspend their work and offset their annual leave,” he said.