Hong Kong to increase maternity leave to 14 weeks

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has recently passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 (the Bill) which enhances the leave benefits of female employees who are employed under a continuous contract of employment.

The key changes are as follows:

  1. An increase in the statutory maternity leave entitlement from the existing 10 weeks to 14 weeks.
  2. The daily rate of maternity leave pay for the extended four weeks of maternity leave shall be at the rate of four-fifths of the employee’s daily average wages. The maternity leave pay for these four weeks of maternity leave is capped at HKD80,000 per employee.  The Government has committed to reimburse employers payment in respect of the extended period of maternity leave (details are still to be confirmed).
  3. The period of pregnancy mentioned in the definition of “miscarriage” will be shortened from 28 weeks to 24 weeks. A female employee who suffers a miscarriage at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy may thus be entitled to maternity leave.
  4. A certificate of attendance, as an alternative to a medical certificate, will be accepted as proof of entitlement to sickness allowance for a day on which a female employee attends a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy.

The amendments are not yet in force. The Bill is expected to be effected by the end of the year.

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