As from 11 December 2020, the statutory maternity leave was extended from 10 weeks to 14 weeks as per the Employment Ordinance (Cap 57) (EO). Please see our July and October 2020 Legal Update for details of the key changes.
Employers can now apply to the government for reimbursement of the cost of these additional 4 weeks of statutory maternity leave, subject to a cap of HKD80,000 per employee.
Who is eligible?
The Labour Department has recently released further details regarding the application of the Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme (the Scheme). The key requirements are as follows:
- The employee concerned has been duly employed by the employer and is entitled to (a) maternity leave and (b) maternity leave pay under the EO;
- The employee has taken her maternity leave and the employer has paid all of the 14 weeks of maternity leave pay to the employee;
- The employee’s confinement occurred on or after 11 December 2020; and
- The additional 4 weeks’ maternity leave pay paid to the employee has not been and will not be covered or subsidised by other government funding.
How can applications be made?
Employers should submit applications no later than 3 months after the last day of the employee’s 14 weeks’ statutory maternity leave under EO, or no later than 3 months after the commencement date of the scheme on 1 April 2021, whichever is later. Employers should submit 1 application for each employee with the following supporting documents:
- A completed Employer Application Form;
- A completed Employee Declaration Form, which the Labour Department advised employers to arrange the employee to complete prior to the commencement of her maternity leave as far as possible;
- Proof of payment of the 14 weeks’ maternity leave pay (e.g. bank transaction records or bank statements);
- Proof of a bank account for receiving reimbursement (e.g. monthly bank statement);
- Registration / identity document relating to the employer (e.g. valid business registration certificate); and
- Employee’s proof of pregnancy (e.g. medical certificate specifying the expected date of confinement, certificate of attendance for medical examination in relation to the employee’s pregnancy or birth certificate of the employee’s child).
Employers may also be asked to (i) provide further information (e.g. payment proof of the 12 months’ wages immediately preceding the commencement of the employee’s maternity leave or employment contract) and/or (ii) make declarations under the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance to declare the information given in the applications and documents submitted are true and correct if required. In the event that an employer fails to provide the information required, it may render lead to the application not being approved and/or the employers will be liable to repay any reimbursement received. For further details, employers are encouraged to read the “Guidance Notes on Application to the Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme (PDF)” before application.
Applications can be accessed and submitted online through the Reimbursement Easy Portal at https://www.rmlps.gov.hk/home, or by email ([email protected]), fax (+852 2178 0328) or post to the Scheme's service center.