Restructuring your Workforce for the Future: Answering your Most Pressing Employment Law Questions
Kathryn Weaver, Partner, Head of Employment Law, Head of the Hong Kong Office, Lewis Silkin
With Hong Kong’s economy expected to grow by 6.5% this year, the business outlook in Hong Kong is starting to look more positive. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on companies, many of which are going through a period of transition at the moment and using this time to re-evaluate their workforce and make changes to streamline resources in order to reduce costs and stabilise/increase profit. For those employers wanting to make such changes, they need to bear in mind the legal ramifications of doing so first, in order to avoid potential grievances and legal claims and the costs involved with these.
For this webinar, Kathryn Weaver, Employment Partner and Head of the Hong Kong office of Lewis Silkin, will be talking us through the most frequently asked questions she is receiving at the moment from employers who are preparing to resolve issues, stabilise and grow as we start to adapt to and slowly move out of the Covid-19 pandemic period. In particular, she will address the following questions:
- If our business is still a going concern, are we entitled to make redundancies and, if so, how?
- We would like to avoid making redundancies if we can; instead, could we do the following: reduce employees’ wages; defer bonus payments; require employees to work a reduced week for reduced pay; and/or force employees to take paid or unpaid leave?
- As part of our restructuring, can we dismiss some employees who are not performing well under the guise of redundancy?
- If we dismiss for redundancy, are we still entitled to enforce the employee’s post-termination obligations such as confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation of clients and non-poaching of employees?
- In what circumstances can we dismiss an employee without notice or payment in lieu of notice? Would this change if we discovered they were pregnant or sick?
- We are moving to smaller offices to save costs and will need employees to work at least one day from home in order to manage our space – can we instruct employees to do this?
- We are bringing in a policy that only fully vaccinated employees can attend the office and would like to be able to dismiss those employees who can be vaccinated but choose not to, whose roles require office attendance – are there any issues with this?
Kathryn is also happy to take any questions from attendees submitted in advance of the webinar, or during the webinar, so please feel free to ask her anything that is on your mind regarding the management of people during Covid-19, from an employer or employee perspective.
Details on how to join will be sent via email by 5pm the day before the webinar.
About the speaker
Kathryn manages Lewis Silkin’s Hong Kong office and heads up its employment practice.
Kathryn advises clients in the technology, financial and professional services, retail and advertising sectors on the full range of employment issues in Hong Kong, including complicated terminations, negotiated separation agreements, restrictive covenant disputes and litigation, defending claims in the labour tribunal and courts, discrimination issues, grievances and disciplinaries, performance issues, sickness absence, redundancies and restructuring, and data privacy.
She also undertakes a broad range of cross-jurisdictional work in Asia Pacific, such as implementing partnership programmes, coordinating global employee handbook reviews and the drafting of template employment documents, overseeing litigation, coordinating multi-country data privacy projects and cross-border restructuring, carrying out disciplinary and grievance investigations, and advising on senior ex-pat relocation packages.
Kathryn is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and England & Wales and listed as a recognised practitioner for Hong Kong employment law in Chambers and Legal 500 and is recommended in Who’s Who Legal.
- Member: HK$140
- Non-Member: HK$250
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