A staff member at Citybus has been fired after being suspected of falsely claiming sick leaves over a one-year period.

A photo showing a letter of termination was posted on Plaxtonl’s Bus Page, a Facebook page for bus enthusiasts, on Tuesday. The letter from Citybus, addressed to a driver, stated that he had taken “a huge amount” of sick leaves between 2014 and 2015 and is therefore suspected of sick leave fraud.

It went on to say that the driver’s contract has been terminated with immediate effect.

The letter of termination given to a Citybus driver
The letter of termination given to a Citybus driver. Photo: plaxtonl’s Bus Page.

The Facebook post also alleges Citybus to have fired a number of its employees based on the same reason, adding that the former staffers have reached out to the Citybus Limited Employees Union for assistance.

Citybus of Hong Kong
Citybus of Hong Kong. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Patrickcheung10.

This is not the first time the bus operator has come under fire for its dismissals. In 2007, the company fired 17 staff members after suspecting them of sick leave fraud. Among the fired staff, two drivers successfully appealed against the decision. Another driver, surnamed Lee, sued Citybus for wrongful termination at the Labour Tribunal, reported Apple Daily. He received a HK$48,000 payout.

However, Lee said Citybus refused to provide him with a letter proving that his contract was not terminated due to wrongful behaviour. He told the newspaper that he suspected Citybus to be letting go of experienced and well-paid staff in order to replace them with new recruits who would be paid less.

Update (20:05): A Citybus representative responded to HKFP with the following statement: “The accusation of firing experienced staff [and replacing them] with cheaper staff is not correct. As stated in the letter, the reason of termination is highly possible sick leave fraud.”

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.