6 July 2016
The Secretary for Labour and Welfare of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region made a statement on 22 June 2016 that the Labour Advisory Board (the "LAB") still required extensive discussion and consultation to be undertaken regarding proposed amendments to the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2016 (the "Bill"). The LAB indicated they would not be able to come to a consensus on the amendments to be made nor resume the Second Reading of the Bill within this current term of the Legislative Council (Legco).
The current Legco term will officially end in mid-July and any Bill still under consideration at the end of a Legco term will lapse. If the Bill does indeed lapse, it may be reintroduced during the next Legco term commencing in October 2016.
The Bill, in its current form, seeks to amend the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) to provide that where an employee is unreasonably and unlawfully dismissed, the Labour Tribunal may make a reinstatement or re-engagement order without the consent of the employer. If an employer refuses to re-engage a dismissed employee, then it will need to pay the employee a maximum sum of three times the employee's average monthly wages, subject to a cap of HK$50,000. This sum is on top of the monetary remedies payable to the employee currently provided in the Employment Ordinance.