In our May Newsletter we reported that the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2014 (“Bill”), which will introduce paid statutory paternity leave, was likely to come into force later this year. This prediction did not factor in the significant amendments made by the Bills Committee which could impact the timeline of the Bill, following a proposal by Dr Hon Helena Wong on 8 July 2014.

The amendments (a) introduce seven days’ paid paternity leave (“PL”) instead of the original three days’ proposed; and (b) provide that PL pay will be paid at the full rate instead of the original four-fifths proposed (collectively, the “Committee Stage Amendments”). The Committee Stage Amendments made by the Bills Committee will be submitted to the Legislative Council for endorsement in late October 2014.

It is unclear whether the Committee Stage Amendments will be endorsed and if so, there is a possibility that the Government may withdraw the Bill for further public consultation in light of the drastic changes and potential financial impact on employers. If rejected, the Bill (without Committee Stage Amendments) will hopefully be passed after resumption of the second and third reading by the Legislative Council.