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LCQ12: Work injury sick leave of employees
     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (April 11):


     According to the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap 282), employees who have sustained an injury or died as a result of a work accident which occurred in the course of their employment or those who have suffered from an occupational disease specified in Cap 282 owing to the nature of their work may receive compensation under a no-fault principle. Regarding the work injury sick leave of employees, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) In respect of each year since 2012, of the respective numbers of employees who were granted sick leave due to work injury for a period of (i) three to six months, (ii) more than six months to one year, (iii) more than one year to two years, and (iv) more than two years, as well as the economic losses arising from their taking sick leave, with a tabulated breakdown by type of jobs undertaken by them;

(2) Whether, since 2012, the authorities have arranged (i) rehabilitation programmes and (ii) transitional work for employees taking work injury sick leave for a period of more than one year; if so, of the details (including the number of cases and the amount of expenditure incurred); if not, the reasons for that;

(3) Of the reinstatement rate, since 2012, of employees who had taken work injury sick leave for a period of more than one year (including employees resuming their positions and being posted to other positions); and

(4) Whether it knows, in respect of each year since 2012, the respective expenditures incurred, by the various programmes managed by (i) the Labour Department, (ii) the Social Welfare Department and (iii) the Hospital Authority, for providing compensation, assistance and rehabilitation programmes to employees who suffered incapacity as a result of work injury?



     In consultation with the Food and Health Bureau, my reply to the Member's question is as follows:

(1) From 2012 to 2017, the number of compensation claims settled in each year involving incapacitation of employees for more than three days as a result of work injuries (including compensation claims reported to the Labour Department (LD) under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (ECO) in or before the respective settlement year) with a breakdown by the number of working days lost is provided below:
Number of working days lost Number of settled compensation claims
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Below 90 days 31 011 29 144 28 107 27 824 26 686 25 251
90 to below 180 days 2 753 2 706 2 783 2 902 2 787 2 741
180 to below 360 days 1 957 2 006 2 196 2 334 2 366 2 296
360 to below 720 days 1 573 1 381 1 765 1 795 1 956 1 801
720 days or above 5 6 2 3 1 2
Total 37 299 35 243 34 853 34 858 33 796 32 091

     If the work injury sick leave of an employee does not exceed three days and no permanent incapacity is involved, the employer should make direct payment of compensation to the employee in accordance with ECO. LD does not keep statistics on the number of working days lost for this type of cases. Moreover, LD does not keep statistics on compensation claims with breakdowns by the number of employees or occupation, or economic losses arising from employees taking sick leave.

(2) For employees who sustain work injuries or suffer from occupational diseases prescribed by ECO, hospitals and clinics under the Hospital Authority (HA) provide integrated treatment and rehabilitation services which include, among other things, specialist treatment, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

     Moreover, the Kwun Tong and Fanling Occupational Health Clinics of LD provide medical treatment and occupational health counselling to employees who have sustained injuries at work. Based on patients' clinical conditions and needs, the occupational health doctors in the clinics will refer the patients to hospitals and clinics under HA for rehabilitation treatment to facilitate their early recovery from the injury, irrespective of the periods of sick leave taken by the patients. In addition, the occupational health doctors will give advice to the patients on resumption of work. Depending on considerations including patients' rehabilitation progress, the occupational health doctors will also provide recommendations to the employers on relevant work adjustments to facilitate the patients' gradual return to work. LD does not have specific statistics and itemised expenditure on the referral of patients to receive rehabilitation treatment and provision of advice on work as these are part of the usual consultation services provided in the occupational health clinics.

     The insurance industry has launched the Voluntary Rehabilitation Programme (VRP) since March 2003 to provide injured employees with an additional channel to receive free rehabilitation services in the private sector through the insurers' arrangements to facilitate their speedy recovery and early return to work under safe circumstances. Under VRP, the participating insurers identify appropriate cases, initiate contacts with the injured employees and invite them to participate in the programme on a voluntary basis. Injured employees can decide on their own whether to accept the insurers' invitation or not and participation in VRP will not affect their rights and benefits under ECO. LD does not maintain information on related expenditure incurred by the insurers participating in the programme.

(3) LD does not keep statistics on the reinstatement of employees after taking work injury sick leave.

(4) If employees sustain an injury as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of their employment or suffer from occupational diseases prescribed by ECO, their employers are liable to pay them employees' compensation in accordance with ECO. If the employees encounter financial difficulties, LD will introduce the services of the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and other assistance funds to them and, subject to their needs and views, refer their cases to SWD and/or relevant organisations for assistance. Moreover, LD has put in place a work injury loan scheme for providing an interest-free loan (up to $15,000) to eligible employees with a view to temporarily relieving their financial difficulties. For the financial years from 2012-13 to 2017-18, the amount of loans approved under the scheme in each year is provided below:
Financial year Amount of loans approved ($)
2012-13 75,000
2013-14 60,000
2014-15 60,000
2015-16 120,000
2016-17 160,824
2017-18 30,000

     SWD does not keep information on the cause of disability of those receiving relevant rehabilitation services and therefore cannot provide information on the expenses in this respect.

     Besides, HA provides needy patients (including employees suffering from work injuries) with a series of inpatient, day patient, outpatient and community medical rehabilitation services through the multi-disciplinary teams consisting of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. In general, medical professionals will provide patients, when their situation is stabilised, with necessary rehabilitation treatment and training according to their individual needs in order to help patients regain mobility and ability in self-care as early as possible. The provision of services to patients in HA involves a wide range of services and activities by the multi-disciplinary teams in HA. HA does not maintain separate statistics on the expenditure on services provided for the injured employees.
Ends/Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:25
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