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Updates on the Implementation of the New Laws on Maternity Leave

  • Hong Kong
  • Other

18-01-2021

Further to our earlier update, the Labour Department published an FAQ in relation to the new Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 (the “Amendment Ordinance”) which came into effect on 11 December 2020, and provided updates on the reimbursement of maternity leave pay scheme (RMLP Scheme).

Key Points highlighted in the FAQ:

  • The additional four weeks’ statutory maternity leave under the Amendment Ordinance is applicable to an eligible female employee whose confinement (delivery) occurs on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance (i.e. 11 December 2020). Whether an employee is entitled to 10 weeks’ or 14 weeks’ statutory maternity leave depends on the actual date of confinement of the employee, regardless of the expected date of confinement and whether the employee had already commenced her maternity leave before the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance.
  • The updated definition of “miscarriage” is applicable to a female employee who suffers a miscarriage on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance.
  • Both medical certificates and certificates of attendance are accepted as documentary proof for entitling an eligible employee to sickness allowance for any day on which the employee has attended a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy. The acceptance of a certificate of attendance as a proof is applicable to medical examinations conducted on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance.
  • A male employee may take paternity leave at any time during the period from four weeks before the expected date of delivery of the child to 14 weeks beginning on the actual date of delivery of the child, if his child is born on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance.

Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme (RMLP Scheme):

Employers, after payment of 14 weeks’ maternity leave pay on the usual pay day (as what employers used to do for payment of 10 weeks’ maternity leave pay), may apply for reimbursement of the 11th to 14th weeks’ maternity leave pay payable and paid under Employment Ordinance. Notably, the additional four weeks’ pay is subject to a separate cap of HKD80,000 per employee.

The Labour Department is preparing for the launch of the RMLP Scheme (including a one-stop online portal to facilitate electronic submission of applications by employers), and is expecting to implement the RMLP Scheme as soon as practicable in the first half of 2021.

Employers who wish to apply for reimbursement are required to keep relevant employment records and other related documents of pregnant employees for the applications, including:

  • employers’ payment records of the 14 weeks’ statutory maternity leave pay (e.g. salary slips, bank transaction records, etc.);
  • wage records of the 12 months preceding the commencement of maternity leave of pregnant employees; and
  • pregnancy proof provided by employees to employers (e.g. medical certificates specifying the expected dates of confinement, medical certificates or certificates of attendance for medical examinations in relation to pregnancy, etc.).