HSBC offers vaccinated staff in Hong Kong two days of extra leave

HSBC has more than 20,000 employees in Hong Kong. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - HSBC Holdings is offering all its Hong Kong staff two days of paid vaccination leave, as it responded to the city government's ramped-up efforts to boost uptake of the inoculation.

"All Hong Kong-based colleagues who have been vaccinated or are scheduled for vaccination will be entitled to one day off for each vaccination dose received," according to the internal memo.

"Colleagues who have received their vaccination prior to this announcement are also entitled to this vaccination leave."

A spokesman for the bank, which has more than 20,000 employees in Hong Kong, confirmed the plan.

The move comes after the Asian financial centre's de facto central bank urged financial institutions to follow the government's recent practice of giving extra days of leave to vaccinated staff.

The Hong Kong authorities are increasingly looking to enlist local businesses and entities to help get people vaccinated, as the Beijing-backed government struggles to convince reluctant residents in an atmosphere of mistrust following widespread anti-China protests in 2019.

"In supporting the government's vaccination leave measure, we will introduce the same for HSBC Hong Kong," the memo said.

Major companies, restaurants and even colleges have started offering cash payouts and extra time off. There is even a chance to win a US$1.4 million (S$1.85 million) apartment.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority on Tuesday (June 1) urged all banks to "strongly encourage" staff in client-facing roles or support functions to get vaccinated. It also told banks to hand over a list of staff they expect to be vaccinated.

Bank of America, which employs 1,600 people in Hong Kong, this week unveiled plans to get all of its staff back at their desks and encouraged its employees to get inoculated. The bank will also provide return-to-office training.

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