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Changes to Hong Kong maternity rights coming in December

  • Hong Kong
  • Employee benefits
  • Employment law

19-10-2020

The government has announced that the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 will come into effect on 11 December 2020.

Highlights of the new ordinance include:

  • the extension of statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks;
  • government reimbursement for the maternity leave payment for the additional 4 weeks, subject to a HK$80,000 statutory cap;
  • the change of definition of “miscarriage” in the Employment Ordinance from pregnancy lost “before 28 weeks of pregnancy” to “before 24 weeks of pregnancy”, and employees suffering from a miscarriage will be entitled to maternity leave; and
  • a relaxation of the documentation requirement for pregnant employees to claim sickness allowance for attending medical examinations in relation to pregnancy.

Details of the new legislation can be found in our previous updates here and here. Employers should review their maternity leave policies to ensure compliance with the forthcoming changes.

Notably, maternity leave payment for the additional 4 weeks will be subject to a separate statutory cap and will have to be made by the employer first, and subsequently reimbursed by the government. To date, the administrative arrangements for the reimbursement scheme are not yet available. We will provide further updates when details are released.