How Has Hong Kong & Macau Updated its Maternity Leave?

Keeping Up with the Changes in Labour Law

Hong Kong has announced that maternity leave will increase from 10 weeks to 14 weeks by the end of 2020 – the change has been welcomed as its been long overdue in bringing Hong Kong closer to international standards for maternity leave. Companies will need to plan for the changes ahead, which are expected to be enforced at the end of the year. With countries in Asia constantly changing their labour legislation to make the business environment more attractive, company leaders should keep up to date as it can affect their business.   

Hong Kong Increases Maternity Leave by One Month (4 Weeks)!

The Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 on the 9th July 2020, increasing the maternity leave benefits of female employees. Under the bill the key changes to benefits are:

Length of Leave:

• Statutory maternity leave will be increased by 4 weeks, from the current 10 weeks to 14 weeks.
Changes to Maternity Leave Pay:

• For the extended period of maternity leave (*the additional 4 weeks), the daily rate of maternity leave pay will be at the rate of four-fifths of the employee’s daily average wages. The maternity leave pay for these 4 weeks will be capped at HK$80,000 per employee.
Miscarriage Definition:

• The definition of a miscarriage will be shortened from 28 weeks to 24 weeks during the period of pregnancy. Female employees who suffer a miscarriage at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy will be entitled to maternity leave.
Proof for Entitlement of Sickness:

• Female employees who are able to produce a certificate of attendance for medical examination related to her pregnancy will be accepted as proof of entitlement to sickness allowance.
Paternity Leave:

• 5 Days of paternity leave can be taken anytime during the period 4 weeks before the expected delivery date to 14 weeks after the actual date of delivery.
Enforcement Date:

• Amendments under the bill are expected to be enforced by the end of 2020

*This is a summary of new maternity leave and provides a general guide. For more information on the amendments, please visit the government website.

Macau Also Increases Maternity Leave & Introduces Paternity Leave

Across the Pearl River Delta, Macau also amended its employment legislation in May, which increases maternity leave and introduces paternity leave for the first time. The key changes include:

Maternity Leave:

• Statutory paid maternity leave will be increased from 56 days to 70 days for children born on or after the 26th May 2020.

• Employers are responsible for paying at least 56 days of maternity leave from now until the 25th May 2023, while the FSS will pay 100% of base pay to the employee for up to 14 days. From 26th May 2023 employers will be responsible for the full 70 days of paid maternity leave.

• Employees must have one year of service prior to the start of maternity leave.
Paternity Leave:

• 5 Days of paid paternity leave can be taken anytime up to 30 days after the delivery date, effective from 26th May 2020. (Employees must have a year or more of service with the employer)

*This is a summary of new maternity leave and provides a general guide. For more information on the amendments, please visit the government website.

How Does HK’s & Macau’s Maternity Leave Compare with the Rest of Asia?

Hong Kong and Macau have some of the shortest maternity and paternity leave entitlements in Asia. Macau has taken more than ten years to increase its statutory maternity leave, while Hong Kong has only for the first time amended the length of its maternity leave entitlement since its inception in 1981. The increase to 14 weeks in Hong Kong places the city in line with the International Labour Organization’s standards, while Macau is still short of reaching those levels.

Some countries in Asia have considerably longer statutory maternity leave rights. For example, in Vietnam, female employees are entitled for up to 6 months of leave with 100% pay of their average monthly salary. Labour laws vary quite significantly between countries in Asia in general, not just in maternity leave.

If you would like to know how Hong Kong and Macau’s leave entitlements and labour laws compare with other countries around Asia, you can download our APAC labour law comparison chart and see how they differ at a glance:

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2020 Asia Labour Law Comparison Chart Download