Legislating for paternity leave has remained a hot topic for debate in recent years. Following the implementation of a pilot scheme to give male civil servants 5 days of paternity leave, the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) has recently endorsed the Government's proposal to give new fathers 3 days' paternity leave.
A Proposal on Legislating for Paternity Leave will be tabled for discussion in the Legislative Council Panel on Manpower on Friday, 25 January 2013.
The proposed details of the statutory paternity leave are as follows:
- The duration will be set at 3 days.
- It will apply for births in marriage and outside marriage.
- Whether the child is born within marriage or not, the male employee is required to produce to his employer documentary proof of the father-child relationship. In most cases this will be the birth registration record.
- No restrictions will be imposed on the birthplace of the newborn baby.
- The male employee must have been employed under a continuous contract immediately before the first day of his taking the leave; and if he has been employed under a continuous contract for 40 weeks or more immediately before the commencement of the leave, he will be entitled to paternity leave pay.
- Paternity leave pay will be set at a daily rate equivalent to four-fifths of the employee's average daily wages prior to his taking the paternity leave.
- The male employee will be allowed to take paternity leave at any time during the period from the date four weeks before the expected date of confinement to 10 weeks after the actual date of the childbirth. He may take all 3 days of paternity leave in one go or on discrete days.
- The male employee will be required to inform his employer of his partner's pregnancy and expected date of confinement in advance. He should also inform his employer of the exact date on which he plans to take the leave shortly before the commencement of the paternity leave. If he does not inform his employer accordingly, then paternity leave on the requested date would be subject to his employer's consent.
- Employers may allow a male employee to go on paternity leave first and subsequently grant paternity leave pay to him after he has produced the relevant proof of the father-child relationship. If payment is effected before the provision of proof and the employee fails to furnish the relevant proof within a specified period of time, it will be permitted for the employer to make a deduction from the employee's wages for the amount of paternity leave pay granted.
The legislation has not yet been finalised and we will keep you updated with any latest development on this topic.