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Hong Kong has some Western holidays in addition to holidays more or less matching most of China’s official holidays. It currently has 12 statutory holidays (also called labor holidays or factory holidays) and 17 public holidays (also called bank holidays). But, starting from 2022, the number of statutory holidays will gradually increase to 17, by 2030 (one additional holiday to be added every two years). The five new days off will be Buddha’s Birthday, the first weekday after Christmas Day, Easter Monday, Good Friday, and the day following Good Friday. Here’re Hong Kong’s statutory holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1): 1 day;
  • First three days of Lunar New Year (late January or early February): 3 days;
  • Ching Ming Festival (April 4, 5 or 6): 1 day;
  • Good Friday (April, starting from 2028): 1 day;
  • The day following good Friday (April, starting from 2030): 1 day;
  • Easter Monday (April, starting from 2026): 1 day;
  • Labor Day (May 1): 1 day;
  • Buddha’s Birthday (May, starting from 2022): 1 day;
  • Tuen Ng Festival (in June): 1 day;
  • Establishment of the Hong Kong SAR (July 1): 1 day;
  • The day following Chinese Mid-autumn Festival (in September or October): 1 day;
  • Chung Yeung Festival (in September or October): 1 day;
  • Chinese National Day (October 1): 1 day;
  • Chinese Winter Solstice Festival (December 21 or 22) or Christmas (at the option of the employer): 1 day; and
  • The first weekday after Christmas Day (December 26, starting from 2024): 1 day.

All employees are entitled to the statutory holidays, irrespective of length of services. If the statutory holiday falls on a rest day, a holiday should be granted on the day following the rest day which is not a statutory holiday or an alternative holiday or a substituted holiday or a rest day.

An employee having been employed under a continuous contract for not less than three months is entitled to pay on statutory holidays. Holiday pay should be paid to the employee not later than the day on which he is next paid his wages after that statutory holiday. An employer can ask an employee to work on statutory holidays. But the employer is required to give their employee at least 48 hours’ prior notice for work on a statutory holiday. The employer must then arrange an alternative holiday within 60 days before or after the statutory holiday. In this situation, an employer is advised to keep clear records of the alternative or substitute holiday taken by an employee. An employer must not make any form of payment to an employee in lieu of a statutory holiday.

Hong Kong’s public holiday schedule for 2022

The Hong Kong government has released the following dates for public holidays for  2022:

Statutory Holidays in Hong Kong

Holiday 

Date 

Day 

The first day of January

1 January, 2022

Saturday

Lunar New Year's Day

1 February, 2022

Tuesday

The second day of Lunar New Year

2 February, 2022

Wednesday

The third day of Lunar New Year

3 February, 2022

Thursday

Ching Ming Festival

5 April, 2022

Tuesday

Good Friday

15 April, 2022

Friday

The day following Good Friday

16 April, 2022

Saturday

Easter Monday

18 April, 2022

Monday

The day following Labour Day

2 May, 2022

Monday

The day following the Birthday of the Buddha

9 May, 2022

Monday

Tuen Ng Festival

3 June, 2022

Friday

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day

1 July, 2022

Friday

The second day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

12 September, 2022

Monday

National Day

1 October, 2022

Saturday

Chung Yeung Festival

4 October, 2022

Tuesday

The first weekday after Christmas Day

26 December, 2022

Monday

The second weekday after Christmas Day

27 December, 2022

Tuesday

A Government spokesman said, "As Labour Day and the Birthday of the Buddha in 2022 both fall on a Sunday, the day following them will be designated as a general holiday in substitution. In addition, since the day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in 2022 falls on a Sunday, the second day following that Festival will be designated as a general holiday in substitution.  Furthermore, as Christmas Day in 2022 falls on a Sunday, the second weekday after Christmas Day will be designated as a general holiday in substitution."

Annual leave

Employees are entitled by law to a minimum of seven to 14 days paid annual leave, depending on their years of service with the company. The amount of annual leave owned by an employee is calculated as follows:

Minimum Annual Leave

Years of service

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9 or more

Days Leave

7

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Employers can determine when annual leave is to be taken after consultation with the employee or his representative and must give 14 days’ written notice to the employee of the time that they have selected. Annual leave must, however, be granted within 12 months of the end of the leave year, although in practice, most employers allow annual leave to be taken as it accrues.

Paid annual leave should be granted for an unbroken period, unless the employee requires so. For leave entitlement not exceeding 10 days, up to three days can be granted separately and the balance should be granted consecutively. For leave entitlement exceeding 10 day, at least seven days should be granted consecutively. Any rest day or statutory holiday falling within a period of annual leave will be counted as annual leave and another rest day or holiday must be appointed.

[tips title="Important Tip"]An employer should not include in an employment contract a term to forgo all or any of the employee's annual leave entitlement, including payment of wages in lieu of any annual leave days.[/tips]

However, the law allows an employee to choose to accept payment in lieu of that part of the leave entitlement which exceeds 10 days. For example, if an employee is entitled to 12 days' annual leave, they can take 10 days' leave and accept payment of the equivalent wages for the 2 days' leave. The law also permits employees to carry forward all untaken annual leave for 12 months after the preceding leave year.

The daily rate of annual leave pay is a sum equivalent to the average daily wages earned by an employee in the preceding 12-month period. If an employee is employed for less than 12 months, the calculation shall be based on the shorter period.

Sick leave

An employee may only take paid sick leave if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The sick leave taken is not less than four consecutive days with limited exceptions, such as pregnancy check-ups, post confinement medical treatment, or miscarriage;
  • The sick leave is supported by an appropriate medical certificate; and
  • The employee has accumulated sufficient number of paid sickness days.

Paid sickness days are accumulated at the rate of two paid sickness days for each completed month of the employee’s employment during the first 12 months, and four paid sickness days for each completed month of employment thereafter, up to a maximum of 120 paid sickness days. Paid sickness days can be accumulated throughout the whole employment period.

  • The employee is not entitled to sickness allowance if:
  • The employee refuses treatment without reasonable excuse;
  • The sickness day falls on a statutory holiday; and
  • Compensation is payable by law (Employees’ Compensation Ordinance).

During sickness leave, the employee’s wage is reduced to 4/5 of the daily average wage as earned in the past 12 months. If an employee is employed for less than 12 months, the calculation shall be based on the shorter period.

An employer is prohibited from terminating the contract of employment of an employee on his paid sickness day, except in cases of summary dismissal due to the employee’s serious misconduct.

Maternity leave

The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, which extends the statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks, took effect on December 11, 2020. Since then, an employee who becomes pregnant is entitled to:

  • A continuous period of 14 weeks’ maternity leave;
  • If childbirth occurs later than expected, added leave until the child is born; and
  • An additional leave of maximum four weeks for illness or disability due to the childbirth.

The employee may decide to take leave two to four weeks prior to the expected date of childbirth, with the agreement of the employer. In absence of such a decision, leave starts four weeks prior to birth. If childbirth occurs earlier than expected, that day is the starting day of the maternity leave.

The employee is eligible for maternity leave pay, if she has worked under a continuous contract for 40 weeks (working a minimum of 18 hours per week) and has given notice to the employer about the pregnancy with a qualified medical certificate provided. It should be noted, however, that any extended maternity leave due to late delivery and/or illness or disability will be unpaid.

The maternity leave pay is calculated at four-fifths of the employee’s average daily wages earned in the 12-month period leading up to the first day of the maternity leave. If an employee is employed for less than 12 months, the calculation shall be based on the shorter period. The maternity leave pay is capped at HK$80,000 per employee.

After paying maternity leave pay to its employee, the employer can be 100 percent reimbursed by the government for the extra cost, as long as the employee is eligible for 14 weeks’ maternity leave pay under the Employment Ordinance.

The employee is also entitled to sickness allowance for any day on which the employee has attended a medical examination related to pregnancy, given that a certificate of attendance issued by professionals can be provided as proof.

Paternity leave

A male employee is entitled to 5 days’ paternity leave for each confinement of his spouse/partner if he:

  • is the father of a new-born child or a father-to-be;
  • has been employed under a continuous contract; (i.e. employed continuously by the same employer for 4 weeks or more and has been working for at least 18 hours each week); and
  • has given the required notification to the employer.

The employee may take paternity leave at any time during the period from 4 weeks before the expected date of delivery of the child to 14 weeks beginning on the actual date of delivery of the child. The employee may take all five days of paternity leave in one go or on separate days.

A male employee is entitled to paternity leave pay if he has been employed under a continuous contract for not less than 40 weeks immediately before the day of paternity leave, and has provided the birth certificate of his child, on which his name is entered as the child’s father, to the employer within the stipulated period.

The daily rate of paternity leave pay is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the average daily wages earned by an employee in the 12-month period preceding the first day of paternity leave. If an employee is employed for less than 12 months, the calculation shall be based on the shorter period.

Other leave

There is no other employee leave defined in Hong Kong law, therefore, all other kinds of employee leave shall be mutual agreed by two parties and may be included in the employee’s employment contract.

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