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Hong Kong passes bill to increase maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks

  • Hong Kong
  • Employment law - HR E-Brief

16-07-2020

Further to our earlier update, the Hong Kong Legislative Council has on 9 July 2020 passed the Employment Amendment Ordinance 2020 which increases statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks.

The only difference of the final legislation from the legislative proposal which we previously discussed is an increase in the statutory cap for the extra 4 weeks of maternity leave pay to HK$80,000 from the originally proposed HK$36,822. The government indicates that this will increase coverage of the female working population from 95% to 99%.

The amendment ordinance will be effective on a later date to be designated by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, which is currently expected to be within this year. The government will set up a system to allow employers to claim reimbursements for the four extra weeks of maternity pay which will be reimbursed by the government when the amendment legislation goes live.

Employers should review their maternity leave and paternity leave policies to align with the amendment ordinance. A relatively obscure point which employers should be aware of is a corresponding amendment which allows a male employee to take his 5 days of statutory paternity leave up to 14 weeks after the birth of his child, while currently the paternity leave has to be taken within 10 weeks after the birth of the child. It may be a good time for employers to seek professional advice to review their parental leave policies and their wider employment policies given the various substantial legislative changes that have been implemented in the past few months in Hong Kong as outlined in our earlier HR E-briefs.