Following is a question by the Hon Chan Kin-por and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council on June 2:
It is the current practice of the Government not to take out employees’ compensation insurance for civil servants. In case of injury or death of a civil servant arisen out of employment, the Government will make compensation under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282) or the relevant Hong Kong pensions legislation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
(a) the total number of civil servants for whom the Government bore its liability under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance as at the first quarter of this year;
(b) the total amount of compensation paid by the Government for the injuries or deaths of civil servants arisen out of employment in each of the past five years;
(c) the administration expenses and the payroll cost of government officers incurred by the Government in handling the aforesaid compensation cases; and
(d) the current number of Non-Civil Service Contract staff employed by the Government and the employees’ compensation arrangement for such staff?
If a civil servant is injured or killed while on duty, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will make compensation under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO)(Cap. 282) or the relevant pensions legislation (Cap. 89 or 99). The compensation includes:
(1) Full-pay sick leave If a civil servant is certified by a registered medical practitioner, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner, a registered dentist or the Employees’ Compensation Assessment Board (ECAB) to be temporarily incapacitated by duty-related injury and absence from duty is necessary, he or she is entitled to full-pay sick leave for a maximum period of 24 months. He or she may take further full-pay sick leave of up to 12 months within the next 12-month period, as may be allowed by the Court or approved personally by his/her Head of Department/Grade who is satisfied with the medical evidence and grounds provided. The Secretary for the Civil Service may approve further full-pay sick leave on a case-by-case and exceptional basis, having regard to the medical evidence and the circumstances of the case.
(2) Compensation for medical expenses A civil servant injured on duty is entitled to free medical service provided by the Government and the Hospital Authority (HA). If, in addition to or in lieu of the free medical service provided by the Government and the HA, the civil servant opts for treatment by registered Chinese medicine practitioners or registered private healthcare professionals, he or she may apply for reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred under the relevant arrangements.
(3) Compensation for permanent incapacity If the total sick leave of an injured civil servant exceeds 7 days or if it is expected that he or she will suffer from permanent incapacity as a result of the injury, the civil servant should, upon expiry of the sick leave, attend an examination by the Labour Department or receive an assessment by the statutory ECAB to determine whether there is any loss of earning capacity and, if so, the extent. Where it is confirmed that there is a loss of earning capacity, the Government will pay compensation with reference to the civil servant’s age and monthly earnings at the time of injury and the percentage of loss of earning capacity in accordance with the ECO. If an injured civil servant is appointed on pensionable terms or on agreement terms before June 1, 2000, he or she may opt to receive either the aforementioned compensation payment under the ECO, or an “additional pension” under the pensions legislation applicable to him or her which is payable each month upon retirement. If he or she chooses the latter, the “additional pension” amount will be calculated with reference to his or her monthly earnings at the time of injury and the percentage of loss of earning capacity.
(4) Compensation for duty-related death If a civil servant dies as a result of injuries received in the actual discharge of duty, under the ECO, the amount of compensation payable, depending on the age of the civil servant, will be equivalent to 36 to 84 months of his or her earnings (monthlyearnings are subject to a ceiling of $21,000). The minimum amount of compensation is $303,000. If a civil servant appointed on pensionable terms or on agreement terms before June 1, 2000 dies on duty, his or her eligible dependants may opt to receive a dependant pension under the relevant pensions legislation, which will be released in the form of a one-off payment or a monthly pension. Under the pensions legislation, dependants or the estate of the deceased civil servant will also be granted a death gratuity which is calculated with reference to the salary and length of pensionable service of the deceased civil servant. If a civil servant appointed on new terms on or after June 1, 2000 dies on duty, on top of the statutory compensation payable under the ECO, a death payment equal to 36 months of his or her final substantive salary will also be payable to his or her dependants or estate. Among the types of compensation mentioned above, full-pay sick leave for civil servants injured on duty is handled by Bureaux/Departments (B/Ds); and Civil Service Bureau (CSB) does not collect or keep statistics in this regard. Against this background, my reply to the questions is as follows:
(a) As at March 31, 2010, the total number of civil servants(Note 1) for whom the Government bore responsibility under the ECO was 156,573.
(b) In the past five years, the total amount of compensation paid by the Government each year in respect of duty-related injury or death of civil servants is set out below: Total Amount of Compensation Year ($ million) —- —————-
(c) Injury on duty (IOD) cases are handled by B/Ds and the majority of B/Ds do not have dedicated officers whose only duty is to process compensation for IOD cases. As such, we are not able to work out the administrative and staff costs.
(d) Non-Civil Service Contract staff (NCSC) are employed mainly to meet the operational and service needs of B/Ds which may be time-limited or seasonal, or where the mode of delivery of the service is under review or likely to be changed. As such, the number of NCSC staff employed by B/Ds varies from time to time according to changes in operational and service needs. As at December 31, 2009, there were about 15,000 full-time(Note 2) NCSC staff employed by B/Ds. Government employees, including NCSC staff, are covered by the ECO, including the provisions on paid sick leave for IOD, compensation for medical expenses, and compensation for permanent incapacity or death caused by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. Note 1: Civil servants refer to persons who are employed on civil service terms of appointment as at the reference date. Independent Commission Against Corruption officers, judges and judicial officers, locally engaged staff working in the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices, and other government employees like Non-Civil Service Contract staff are excluded. Note 2: “Full-time” means the employment is on a “continuous contract” under the definition of the Employment Ordinance (EO)(Cap. 57). According to the EO, an employee who works continuously for the same employer for four weeks or more, with at least 18 hours in each week, is regarded as working under a continuous contract.