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Is the employee entitled to sickness allowance if a medical certificate can be presented?

Labour Department

Employee eligible for sickness allowance



An employee who has been employed by his/her employer under a continuous contract, shall be eligible for a sickness allowance (sick leave allowance) of four-fifths of his/her average daily wages, if:

  1. he/she is granted a sick leave of not less than 4 consecutive days (unless for any day off taken by a female employee for her pregnancy check-ups, post confinement medical treatment or miscarriage, any such day on which she is absent shall be counted as sickness day and, subject to the following conditions, be paid sickness allowance.) ;
  2. he/she has accumulated sufficient number of paid sickness days (Note 1) ; and
  3. he/she is able to present a medical certificate issued by:
    a.   a registered medical practitioner, a registered Chinese medical practitioner or a registered dentist; or
    b.   when the employer operates a recognised (by the Director of Health) medical scheme, a medical certificate issued by the medical practitioner/Chinese medical practitioner/dentist under the medical scheme.


Employer must allow his/her employee to take a sick leave with sickness allowance paid if the above conditions are met, and the number of sickness days taken shall be deducted from the accumulated number of paid sickness days.

Sickness allowance should be paid to the employee not later than the normal pay day. An employer who without reasonable excuse fails to pay sickness allowance to an employee is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of $50,000.


Note 1: Paid sickness days are accumulated at a rate of 2 paid sickness days for each completed month of the employee's employment during the first 12 months of employment, and 4 paid sickness days for each completed month of employment thereafter.


Circumstances under which an employee shall not be entitled to sickness allowance

An employee shall not be entitled to sickness allowance under the following circumstances:

  1. if the employer operates a recognised (by the Director of Health) medical scheme and the employee, without reasonable excuse, refuses the treatment under the medical scheme or disregards the medical advice provided by the scheme;
  2. the sickness days fall on statutory holidays on which the employee is entitled to holiday pay; or
  3. the employee is suffering from work injury and is entitled to compensation payable under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance.

The is not a legal document. The Ordinance remains the sole authority for the provisions of the law explained.

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Last update: 4 Sep 2019
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