1. Q: If an employee sustained a work injury, and would like to claim compensation under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282), what should he/she do?
A: An employee should bear in mind the following:
- Regardless of the severity of the injury, an employee should notify his/her employer or employer’s agent immediately about the accident, such that he/she can report to the Labour Department.
- Attend medical check-up and receive treatment as soon as possible. Remember to state clearly to the attending medical staffs the cause and course of the injury. Submit to your employer originals of sick leave certificates and receipts for medical expenses. Remember to keep a copy of these documents for your own record.
- If necessary, contact the Occupational Medicine Unit of the Labour Department and make an appointment for medical clearance.
- Keep all your employment documents, such as the documents that can prove an employment relationship, the names and addresses of your direct employer and the principal contractor, your working and salary records, etc.
2. Q: How should a work injury be reported to the Labour Department?
A: An injured employee should give the employer notice of the accident as soon as possible if he/she sustains a work injury. Failure to give prompt notice may jeopardize and delay the claim for employees’ compensation. Notice may be given orally or in writing to the employer or to the employee’s supervisor. The employer is presumed to have had notice of an accident if an employee dies on the employer’s premises.
3. Q: How would an injured employee go through the procedure for medical clearance?
A: For the work injury with a period of temporary incapacity not exceeding 7 days and with no permanent incapacity involved, the case should be settled by “direct payment” (employer to submit Form 2B) or “determination of compensation by agreement according to the Ordinance” (employer to submit Form 2 and complete Part H “direct settlement”). Employer pays periodical payments and medical expenses to the employee. Medical clearance or arrangement for assessment on the loss of earning capacity is not required for such cases.
For any other cases, the Employees’ Compensation Division of the Labour Department, upon receipt of the work-accident notification from the employer, will issue a “Medical Clearance Notification” and other related information to the injured employee. The employee should approach the Occupational Medicine Unit of the Labour Department by appointment 1 month after the accident for medical clearance. When approaching the Occupational Medicine Unit, the employee should bring along the photocopies of all medical certificates, relevant appointment slips and all other related documents.
4. Q: Will an injured employee be arranged with medical assessment?
A: An injured employee may not be arranged with medical assessment. Where it appears that permanent incapacity may result from the injury, the Occupational Medicine Unit will arrange the injured employee to attend the Employees’ Compensation (Ordinary Assessment) Board for assessing the percentage of loss of earning capacity permanently caused by the injury. The employee should attend as scheduled. The Assessment Board will issue and send a certificate of assessment to the employer and the employee separately by mail soon after the assessment. If it could be substantiated that the injury sustained by the employee, including injuries to limbs and body parts, functional impairment of organs and mental impairment, etc, are related to the work accident and have caused temporary and/or permanent loss of earning capacity, the amount of employees’ compensation would be assessed accordingly.
5. Q: If an employer considers that he/she is not obliged to take up any statutory obligation to pay any compensation in relation to a work-related accident, is he or she still required to notify the Commissioner of Labour of the accident?
A: According to Section 15 of the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, an employer is required to notify the Commissioner for Labour of any work-related accident in the manner set out in the Ordinance, irrespective of whether the accident gives rise to any liability to pay compensation. If the employer is in doubt about whether a work injury is work-related or cannot reach a decision over admission of liability, he or she should inform the Labour department of his or her query in reporting the injury at work, either by making a note in the Form 2, or attaching a full account of relevant information available to the employer. The Employees’ Compensation Division of the Labour Department would then render advice and assistance as appropriate.