Statutory paternity leave of between 3 to 5 days may be introduced in Hong Kong next year.

Background

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare commissioned a comprehensive study on paternity leave last year. This report is now being shared with the Executive Council following which it will be discussed at the Labour Advisory Board.

In April 2012, the government introduced 5 days of paid paternity leave for eligible government employees and it was reported that there was support amongst Legislative Council members to providing statutory paternity leave to all workers.

Controversy

The media have reported concerns expressed by employers that statutory paternity leave would raise labour costs and place an unnecessary burden on employers. The government has estimated that the overall cost in lost man-hours would be between HK$300 million and HK$400 million a year, or about 0.02 per cent of the total. In the circumstances, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare has stated that the effect of giving paternity leave is relatively small to the business sector.

Next steps

It is anticipated that a proposal will be put to the Legislative Council next year and it is likely that statutory paternity leave could become a reality in 2013.