The Hong Kong branch of Singaporean bank Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) has rolled out an incentives programme which awards employees HK$400 in coupons if they haven’t taken a single day’s sick leave over a whole year.

The programme has backfired among employees, who said the bonus is offensively low, according to local newspaper Apple Daily.

A branch of OCBC in Hong Kong. Photo: Wikipedia

OCBC sent an email to its workers in Hong Kong recently, announcing that those who take no sick leave between January 1 and December 31 this year will receive HK$400 in healthcare, supermarket or movie theatre coupons. Those who have taken fewer than two days of sick leave by the end of the year will receive HK$200 in coupons.

“[The company] will have to add at least one more zero for me to consider this, I don’t think anyone will not take sick leave just to get HK$400,” an unidentified employee told Apple Daily.

The employee said the low incentives make OCBC look very “stingy” and “calculated.”

In reply to the newspaper’s inquiry, a spokesperson for OCBC Hong Kong said the bonus incentives were part of the company’s drive to encourage employees to be healthier and take less sick leave.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.