18 August 2023
Schools should provide new teachers with temporary employee insurance when asking them to work ahead of the new school year, a teachers’ group said.
The Education Employees General Union yesterday called on the Education Bureau to add resources to schools to provide new teachers with temporary employee insurance.
For teachers who are serving a new school, although their contract term starts in September, they would still need to work in late August.
New teachers do not receive the employees’ compensation insurance or salary for the working days in August. Instead, new recruits are treated as visitors to the school.
In case a new teacher gets injured before the contract starts, he or she will only be covered by third-party insurance, which has a narrower coverage.
Union chairwoman Eva Yu Yee-wah said it has received 15 cases of inquiry from new teachers since May, which significantly increased from an average of three to five in past years.
But Yu declined to comment when asked whether the increased inquiries related to more frequent job changes of teachers amid the migration wave but said teachers understand of their rights.
Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Dennis Leung Tsz-wing, who is a former secondary school teacher, described the phenomenon as an “unspoken rule” of the industry.
“Conservatively speaking, there are more than 1,000 primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, assuming that each school on average hires about 10 new teachers every year, there are at least 10,000 teachers involved,” Leung said.
Despite no injury reports, Leung said the working environment for teachers could be poor during the summer as schools often take up renovation works.
“[Teachers] cannot receive any compensation because they are not the actual employees of the schools, so we are afraid that it will affect the benefits or the rights of the new teachers in the coming year,” he explained, adding that the he hopes the bureau provides additional resources to schools for insurance.
Meanwhile, a secondary school teacher with an alias A, said his school had ended his contract a month earlier than the term which expires on August 31, due to “limited school resources,” knowing A will serve another school in the new school year.
According to the Employment Ordinance, employers should not unilaterally vary the employment terms and conditions.
The union said the Labour Department has accepted A’s complaint, though he gets paid for the days he worked in August before his term began.