On 9 July 2020, the Legislative Council passed the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 (the Bill) enhancing the maternity leave benefits of female employees who are employed under a continuous contract of employment.
The key changes under the Bill are as follows:
- An increase in the statutory maternity leave entitlement from the existing 10 weeks to 14 weeks.
- The daily rate of maternity leave pay for the extended period of maternity leave (ie the additional four weeks) 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 HK$80,000 per employee.
The Government has committed to reimburse employers payment in respect of the extended period of maternity leave; details of the arrangement are not available yet.
- 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 will be entitled to maternity leave (if other conditions are met).
- A certificate of attendance 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 under the Bill are not in force yet. It is expected that the new measure will come into operation by the end of this year.