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Employment ordinance

The Employment Ordinance is the main piece of legislation governing conditions of employment in Hong Kong. Since its enactment in 1968, the benefits provided for under the Ordinance have been substantially improved. It now covers a comprehensive range of employment protection and benefits for employees including: 

  • Wage protection
  • Rest days
  • Holidays with pay
  • Paid annual leave
  • Sickness allowance
  • Maternity protection
  • Statutory paternity leave
  • Severance payment
  • Long service payment
  • Employment protection
  • Termination of employment contract
  • Protection against anti-union discrimination

Factories and industrial undertakings ordinance

The Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance provides for the safety and health protection to workers in the industrial sector. It applies to industrial undertakings, i.e. factories, construction sites, catering establishments, cargo and container handling undertakings, repair workshops and other industrial workplaces.

[tips title="Did You Know"]This ordinance imposes general duties on proprietors and persons employed at industrial undertakings to ensure safety and health at work.[/tips]

Every proprietor should take care of the safety and health at work of all persons employed by him at an industrial undertaking by:

  • providing and maintaining plant and work systems that do not endanger safety or health;
  • making arrangement for ensuring safety and health in connection with the use, handling, storage or transport of plant or substances;
  • providing all necessary information, instruction, training, and supervision for ensuring safety and health; and
  • providing and maintaining safe access to and egress from the workplaces; and
  • providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. 

Every person employed at an industrial undertaking should also contribute to safety and health at work by:

  • taking care for the safety and health of himself and other persons at the workplace; and
  • using any equipment or following any system or work practices provided by the proprietor. 

Employees' compensation ordinance

The Employees' Compensation Ordinance establishes a no-fault, non-contributory employee compensation system for work injuries. 

An employer is liable to pay compensation in respect of injuries sustained by his employees as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment; or in respect of occupational diseases specified in the Ordinance suffered by the employees. 

The Ordinance in general applies to employees who are employed under a contract of service or apprenticeship. Employees who are injured while working outside Hong Kong are also covered if they are employed in Hong Kong by local employers. 

Occupational safety and health ordinance 

The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance provides for the safety and health protection to employees in workplaces, both industrial and non-industrial. It is basically an enabling ordinance setting out requirements in general terms.

 This ordinance covers almost all workplaces - places where employees work. In addition to factories, construction sites and catering establishments, other places, such as offices, laboratories, shopping arcades, educational institutions also come under the ambit of the law. However, there are a few exception, namely: 

  • an aircraft or vessel in a public place;
  • the place occupied by the driver of a land transport vehicle when it is in a public place (but other employees working in the vehicle are covered);
  • domestic premises at which only domestic servants are employed; and
  • places where only self-employed persons work. 

Minimum wage ordinance

The Minimum Wage Ordinance establishes a Statutory Minimum Wage (SMW) regime aimed at striking an appropriate balance between forestalling excessively low wages and minimising the loss of low-paid jobs while sustaining Hong Kong’s economic growth and competitiveness.

SMW provides a wage floor to protect grassroots employees.

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