The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 (the "Bill") was published in the Gazette on 27 December 2019.
The main changes to the Employment Ordinance proposed by the Bill are as follows:
- Increase of statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks.
- The additional four weeks’ maternity leave pay is also calculated as 80% of the employee’s average daily wages, but there is a cap of HKD 36,822 per employee for the additional four weeks' leave pay. (The current proposal is that statutory maternity leave pay for the additional four weeks will be funded by the Government. The employer will need to pay the employee first on the employee's normal pay day and then seek reimbursement by way of an administrative scheme.)
- Shortening the period of pregnancy is the definition of 'miscarriage' from 28 weeks to 24 weeks (which means that a female employee whose child is incapable of survival after being born at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy may be eligible for statutory maternity leave if other conditions are satisfied).
- Allowing a certificate of attendance to be accepted as proof in respect of an employee's entitlement for sickness allowance for a day on which the employee attends a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy. The Bill sets out the requirements for a certificate of attendance for a medical examination in relation to a pregnancy and who may issue the certificate.
According to a Government Press Release, the Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on 8 January 2020.