Hong Kong: Employment (Amendment) Bill - Gradual increase to number of statutory holidays from 12 to 17

In brief

The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2021 ("Bill") was gazetted on 5 March 2021. 

The Bill seeks to amend section 39(1) of the Employment Ordinance (EO) by adding five statutory holidays to the existing 12 statutory holidays, progressively from 2022 to 2030. The additional five days to be added are:

  • the Birthday of the Buddha, being the eighth day of the fourth lunar month (starting from 1 January 2022);
  • the first weekday after Christmas Day (starting from 1 January 2024);
  • Easter Monday (starting from 1 January 2026);
  • Good Friday (starting from 1 January 2028); and 
  • the day following Good Friday (starting from 1 January 2030).

This increase in the number of statutory holidays from 12 to 17 brings the total number of statutory holidays in line with the general holidays under the General Holidays Ordinance. Currently only certain employers such as banks, educational establishments, public offices and Government departments are required to grant general holidays to their employees, although many international employers in Hong Kong do so regardless. There is no requirement to pay for general holidays although in practice many employers do make payment for such leave days. 


Contents

What does this amendment mean for employers?

The amendment to the EO means that once the relevant days above become statutory holidays, employers will need to comply with the provisions set out in the EO governing statutory holidays in respect of such days. For example, all employees regardless of length of service are entitled to take statutory holidays. Employees who have been continuously employed for at least three months or more immediately preceding the relevant statutory holiday are entitled to be paid for the statutory holiday in accordance with the formula set out in the EO. The EO also sets out specific rules on substitution of statutory holidays and payment in lieu of statutory holidays. 

The First Reading of the Bill is scheduled to take place on 17 March 2021.

 

Employers should be aware of this development and may need to make amendments to applicable leave policies in due course.

Contact Information
Sonia Wong
Special Counsel
Hong Kong
sonia.wong@bakermckenzie.com
Ken Ng
Senior Associate
Hong Kong
ken.kw.ng@bakermckenzie.com

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