Hong Kong's economy has shown some encouraging signs of improvement, but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has created inevitable repercussions on the city's employment market. Businesses large and small have engaged in cost reduction in some form or other as their revenue takes a hit.
At a Chamber webinar on 26 August, Michael Szeto, Partner at ONC Lawyers, discussed how companies can balance the rights and interests of both the employer and employees when they need to make tough decision, such as wage reductions and retrenchments. Key employment issues he touched on included whether employers can request employees to take no-pay leave, dismiss employees without reason, or reduce wages or change contractual terms.
Companies that actively pursue ESG (environment, social and governance) policies are more likely to outdo their counterparts in terms of stock market and accounting performance, explained Trey Davis, Executive Compensation Leader at Willis Towers Watson, at a webinar on 11 May. He was discussing the results of an ESG survey conducted by his company. In some cases, Davis added, these companies tied executive performance and pay to sustainability metrics for higher value creation.
Members also heard from Raymond Yau, General Manager for Technical Services and Sustainable Development at Swire Properties, who discussed how his company engages its employees to establish and meet sustainability objectives. Yau explained that by making a concerted and company-wide effort to foster a culture of sustainable development and ESG performance, Swire properties had been successful in attracting Millennials and Gen Z-ers who are keen to work in an impactful, purpose-led and inclusive environment.
The Chamber hosted a webinar on 14 January for members to ask the Government details of the just-launched Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme, which provides subsidies for companies that employ Hong Kong youngsters to work in the GBA. Chamber Chairman Peter Wong welcomed Matthew Cheung, Chief Secretary for Administration, and his team Charles Hui, Assistant Commissioner for Labour, and Yeung Chi-kit, Senior Labour Officer before handing the floor to CEO George Leung to moderate the Q&A session. Many of the questions related to tax and labour regulations, as the employees will be working in the Mainland but will be employed under Hong Kong labour laws. Speakers said if employers have any uncertainties, they could visit the GBAYES website or write to them directly with their questions.