The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2014, proposing to legislate paternity leave in Hong Kong, has been gazetted today, 28 February 2014.
The Bill proposes that working fathers be entitled to three days paid statutory paternity leave mirroring the arrangements applicable to maternity leave under the Employment Ordinance.
Broadly speaking, the Bill proposes that male employees be entitled to:
- unpaid paternity leave if they are employed under a continuous employment contract for at least four weeks (with more than 18 working hours per week), and
- paid paternity leave if they are employed under a continuous employment contract for at least 40 weeks (with more than 18 working hours per week) at the same level of allowance as maternity pay (i.e., 80% of the daily average of the wages earned by the employee during the 12 months preceding the commencement of the paternity leave).
In addition to the length of service, the Bill proposes that a male employee must give advance notice to his employer of his intention to take paternity leave and submit relevant documentary proof in order to be eligible for paternity leave and/or paternity leave pay.
The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on 26 March 2014 but it is not yet known when this is intended to come into force. Once enacted, it is expected that male employees will be able to take the leave at any time during the period from four weeks prior to the expected birth, up to ten weeks after the actual date of birth.