Court of Final Appeal ends Cathay Employment Sagas

Last week, the Court of Final Appeal handed down its decision in two long-running disputes between Cathay Pacific Airways and its employees.

The Becky Kwan case involved flight attendants who were claiming for certain allowances and commissions to be included in the calculation of wages for the purposes of holiday and annual leave pay. The case also considered the rate of pay for excess annual leave, i.e. contractual leave in excess of statutory annual leave entitlements.

The other case, the famous “49ers” case, involved former pilots (who originally were 49 in number but by the final stage numbered only 18) whose employment was terminated in relation to industrial action taken in 2001. The issues in this appeal were whether they were terminated for valid reason in breach of the Employment Ordinance, whether they were wrongfully dismissed in breach of their employment contracts, and the quantum of an award for defamation.

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