Hong Kong to repeal vaccination provisions in June

Changes rules for unreasonable dismissals

Hong Kong to repeal vaccination provisions in June

The provisions that allow the dismissal of an unvaccinated employee from an employer's vaccine requirement will be repealed starting June 16, according to the Hong Kong government.

This follows the publication of the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 (Commencement) Notice in the Gazette on April 12.

The notice repeals the vaccination provisions added to the EO in line with the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 that took effect on June 17 last year.

The previous provisions stipulate the conditions to be met if an employer makes a COVID-19 vaccination request to staff.

"If an employee is dismissed due to non-compliance with such request, the dismissal will not be considered as unreasonable dismissal," last year's bulletin said.

These provisions will be overturned a year after its implementation, according to the latest government bulletin, following consultations with the Health Bureau and the Department of Health.

"Starting from June 16, there will be no vaccination provisions under the EO, and any legitimate vaccination request made under the EO prior to the aforesaid date shall cease to have effect on or after that date," a spokesperson from the Labour Department said in a statement.

The statement attributed the development to Hong Kong's "full" return to normalcy. It also follows the financial hub's scrapping of the Vaccine Pass requirement.

Hong Kong has reported over 10,300 "positive nucleic acid test detections" since January 30, according to its official COVID-19 dashboard.

Scrapping vaccine mandates

Across the world, employers have also been scrapping their vaccine mandates and rehiring unvaccinated staff following widespread retrenchments due to their requirements.

In Australia, resources giant Rio Tinto scrapped its vaccine requirements across its Western Australian operations last year. Fellow mining company BHP also lifted its vaccination policy for its workplaces early this year. 

In New Zealand, employers may choose to rehire laid off staff if they no longer have a vaccination requirement in place. They are not obligated to bring them back, however, Employment NZ clarified.

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