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Employment Terms and Conditions

Hong Kong - Employment Terms and Conditions

Hong Kong has a demanding work ethic with employees working long hours, sometimes more than 50 hours per week. Officially, the business hours are from 9am to 5pm. However, depending on the company and the profession, typical hours of business can run much longer.

There are 11 public holidays in Hong Kong. These include New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, Lu Pan Day, Liberation Day, National Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.

Employees in Hong Kong do get sick leave. The Department of Labor has guidelines determining the number of days that an employee may take sick days. Some employers offer 1 sick day per month. These days are able to accumulate throughout the year. Sick leave allowance begins after 4 consecutive days at 80% of your regular daily pay rate. Therefore, unless it is otherwise stated in your employee contract, sick leave is not paid leave. Some employers, however, will pay 100% instead of Hong Kong’s Ordinance of 80%.

Most companies ask for a doctor’s excuse after 2 or 3 days of sick leave. However, it might be prudent to get a doctor’s note regardless of how many days you need to miss. Sick leave does not extend to family illness and only concerns the employer. For more information on Hong Kong’s Labor Department’s sick leave, visit: http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/wcp/SickLeave.pdf

Hong Kong Labour Department
The Commissioner for Labour,
Labour Department
16/F, Harbour Building,
38 Pier Road, Central
Hong Kong
Email: enquiry@labour.gov.hk

For those expecting children, Hong Kong offers 10 weeks of maternity leave. If there is a difference between the actual birth date and the expected birth date then that additional time will be added to the existing 10 weeks. If the mother has an illness or a birth-related disability then she is entitled to an additional 4 weeks.

The 10 weeks of maternity leave begin 4 weeks before the anticipated arrival date. The employer and employee can agree to a different start date. Normally, however, this is between 2-4 weeks before the expected birth date.

It is unlawful for the employer to terminate the employee for the birth of her child and legally acceptable leave terms, unless the employee has been charged with misconduct. If the employee has given notice of her pregnancy to her employer then, under Hong Kong law, the protection is absolute. If the employer terminates the employee in breach of this law, then the employee must be paid all of her wages and maternity pay up until the date in which her maternity leave would have ended. If the employee’s job is hazardous then the employer must change the employee’s duties within 14 days of the employee submitting a pregnancy certificate. The pregnancy certificate can be obtained from a family doctor or an OB.

If the employee has been employed for at least 40 weeks then she is entitled to maternity pay. This is at a rate of 80% of her normal wages. Some employers might offer benefits outside of what the law requires. This is something that expats might want to discuss as part of their benefits package when they accept employment. Maternity leave does not include the father.

Hong Kong does not have an official retirement age. The pension program in Hong Kong is the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and Mandatory Provident Fund. This is obligatory and, depending on what your salary is, a certain amount must be deposited into the fund each month. The funds can only be drawn out at a certain time. For more information, visit:

Mandatory Provident Schemes Fund Authority
Level 36, Tower 1, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong,
New Territories
Tel: (852) 2259 8806
Email: mpfa@mpfa.org.hk

If you are made redundant, the legal minimum your employer must pay you in redundancy is 2/3 of HK$22,500 for each year you worked. Some employers might offer one month’s salary for each year you were employed or 2/3 of your current monthly salary. If your employer does offer you more than the legal standard then you might find that you have to obey certain conditions and sign a confidentiality agreement.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.