What’s the Difference Between Labour Laws in Hong Kong and the Mainland?
Although the proximity of Hong Kong SAR and Mainland China is literally across the border, Hong Kong’s special status gives the city a high degree of autonomy to set its laws. This means that labour laws between HK and the Mainland are very different.
Many businesses that are based in HK often have operations in Mainland China and vice versa. The relation between the two is indispensable, with both relying on each other in some form for their economic success. Often acting as a gateway between China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong has been crucial in the economic rise of China.
Even though the ties between the two are close, work culture and legislation are not the same in most aspects. With China becoming an increasingly important market, we look at how it compares with its well-established Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong.
What are the Labour Standards in HK & China?
Hong Kong was one of the first places in Asia to industrialise and transform into a modern service-based economy. Fast development meant a mature set of labour laws have been implemented for some time now.
However, Mainland China only began opening up its economy in 1978 and saw extraordinary growth in the following decades. As the economy expanded and the lives of average workers improved, legislation has evolved to accommodate the growing demands. For this reason, Chinese labour laws have seen more changes in recent times compared to HK.
Basic Comparison of HK & China Labour Laws
|Minimum Wage Amount||Legal Probation Period||Standard Working Hours||Legal Notice Period||Retirement Age|
|Hong Kong||$37.5 HKD per hour||No provision that specifies probation period, but standard practice is to have a 1–3 month period||8 hrs per day only applicable to teenagers between 15 and 18 years old||Depending on probation period and contract provision. 7 days if contract does not include probationary period||65|
|Highest: 2480 Yuan per month (Shanghai)||Up to 6 months, depending on labour contract period||No more than 44 hrs/week, normally 8 hrs per day||30 days||Male – 60|
Female – 50
Leave Comparison Between HK & China
|Statutory Annual Paid Leave||Statutory Paid Sick Leave||Statutory Maternity Leave||Statutory Paternity/Parental Leave (Childcare Leave, if any)||Statutory Paid Holiday per Year|
|Hong Kong||7-14 days, depends on years of services||Applied to 4 consecutive sick leave days with doctors note only. Accumulated by 2-4 days/month, depending on years of service.|
Max 120 days with 4/5 pay
|14 weeks with 4/5 pay after 40 weeks’ services||5 days with 4/5 full pay after 40 weeks’ services||12 days statutory holidays, additional 5 days general holidays|
|5-15 days, depends on years of services||3-24 months, depending on years of services||98 days min. depends on different situations of parturition/ Varies across locations||Varies across locations||11 days|
Even though China is still technically considered a developing country, we can see that the employee protection laws are just as strong as Hong Kong. China’s standard of protection for employees is high, with rights like maternity leave achieving the global recommended standards set by the World Health Organization.
China’s Labour Force Challenge
One important area to keep note of is that the retirement age is currently under review in China. Dealing with an ageing population, it comes as no surprise that the country is looking to raise the retirement age to tackle the predicted constraints on the workforce.
With China’s labour laws always being altered to tackles increasing challenges, it is difficult for businesses who want to expand into the country to keep up with the regulations. Businesses are increasingly choosing to expand their operations into China through PEO/EOR services in order to stay compliant with local protocols, remove the language barriers, and cut costs. PEO/EOR lets you expand your business into China quickly and efficiently whilst avoiding compliance issues and minimising risks!
Need help expanding your business overseas? Learn more about the most flexible and cost-effective way to grow your business!
Interested in Seeing How Other Asian Countries’ Labour Laws Compare?
If you would like to see how HK and China’s labour laws compare with other countries in APAC, download our 2021 Mid-Year APAC Labour Law Comparison Chart now! Stay up to date with the latest developments in the region with our easy-to-read chart and learn about:
- Minimum Wages
- Working Hours
- Probation & Notice Period
- Maternity Leave
- Compulsory Employment Insurance
- Statutory Leave
Our APAC labour law chart is free to download, so get your copy now!
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