Extension of statutory maternity leave now in effect
With effect from 11 December 2020, Hong Kong’s statutory maternity leave has been extended from 10 weeks to 14 weeks under the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020. The statutory rate of maternity leave pay has been kept at four-fifths of the relevant employee’s average daily wages, subject to a cap of $80,000 per employee for the additional four weeks’ leave. Employers may apply to the Government for full reimbursement of the amount of additional maternity leave pay that is required to be paid and has been paid under the amendment ordinance.
Bringing the city on par with the standard recommended by the International Labour Organization, the change will allow more time and space for mothers to adapt to their new role and breastfeed their newborn child before resuming work. Still, further legislative reform is needed to better protect working mothers from unfavourable treatment, as pointed out in a 2016 report the EOC submitted to the Government. Based on a comprehensive review of the city’s anti-discrimination laws, the report recommended, among other things, the introduction of a statutory right for women to return to their previous role after maternity leave, or a suitable alternative role on similar terms and conditions if the original position no longer exists. Click the link below to learn more.