HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

68% of Hong Kong employers expect their staff to be available while on annual leave

Hong Kong employers are the most demanding in Asia Pacific, according to the latest Robert Half Workplace Survey.

68% of employers expect their employees to be available or contactable while on annual leave or out of office hours which is well above the regional average of 40%.

The survey also revealed that the highest demand is on middle managers, with 76% of respondents indicating they expect middle managers to be available while on holiday or outside of office hours, compared with 47% of senior management or directors and 23% of junior or entry level staff.

“In an environment where employees have had to help companies ‘do more, with less’ for some time, many are in need of a healthier work-life balance,” said Andrew Morris, Managing Director, Greater China, Robert Half International. “While technology can keep us connected 24/7, employers should resist the temptation to phone or email employees outside of work hours unless it’s truly urgent.”

“Employers must respect their staff’s need to properly unplug. They can do this by arranging proper ‘handovers’ when staff go on holiday and bringing in temporary staff to cover when key employees go on leave so that important tasks keep moving forward,” added Mr. Morris.

Compared to other finance professionals in the region, Hong Kong employees stay the most tuned-in to work during their down time with 77% claiming that they remain connected to work or do work-related tasks while on holiday. They indicated the top reasons for staying connected are the need to be available in case of emergency (51%), technological advancements which allow access to information anywhere in the world (38%), and the inability to switch off (34%).

According to the survey, time off in lieu and overtime payment for extra hours worked are the most common ways employees are compensated, however not all employees are rewarded for putting in extra hours. While 49% of Hong Kong finance professionals said they receive time off in lieu and 46% receive overtime payment for additional hours worked, 16% said that they are not remunerated for working overtime.  

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