Hong Kong male employees will be entitled to five days’ paid paternity leave for each child born on or after today, 18 January 2019, increasing from the current entitlement to three days’ leave.

The additional two days’ payment will not be subsidised by the government.

To qualify, a Hong Kong male employee must: have been employed under a continuous contract for not less than 40 weeks immediately prior to the intended commencement of the leave; have given the required notification of the intention to take leave to the employer; and provide evidence that he is the father of the child. Paternity leave days can be taken separately or consecutively but must be taken within the period of four weeks prior to the expected date of delivery and ten weeks following the actual birth of the child.

Employers should update their policies and procedures to reflect the change.

A proposed increase to statutory maternity leave was also flagged by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, last year; however, such increase is yet to receive legislative approval. The current proposal will involve an increase in statutory paid maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks. As with the existing 10 weeks’ leave, the additional four weeks would be paid at a rate of four-fifths of the employee’s average daily wages over the previous 12 months. However, payment for the additional leave would be capped at HK$36,822 per month, which is equivalent to four-fifths of the wages of an employee with a monthly wage of HK$50,000. It is expected that employers will be able to seek reimbursement from the Hong Kong government for payment of the extended leave. Payment for the initial 10 weeks’ leave will remain the burden of the employer.