Legal update: Statutory maternity leave extended to 14 weeks (but change may not take effect until end of 2020)


On 17 July 2020, the Government published the Hong Kong Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 (“Amendment Ordinance”) in the Gazette.

The Amendment Ordinance increases the statutory maternity leave entitlements under the Employment Ordinance (Cap 57) in Hong Kong from 10 weeks to 14 weeks, to be taken continuously.  The statutory rate of maternity leave pay of 4/5ths of the employee’s average daily wages (as prescribed in the Employment Ordinance) remains the same but will be subject to a cap of HK$80,000 per employee for the additional 4 week period.   

Employers will be able to apply to the Government for reimbursement of the additional 4 weeks statutory maternity leave pay paid by the employer under the Amendment Ordinance.  The Government has announced that this will be done by way of an administrative scheme, the details of which will be announced in due course.

The Amendment Ordinance will not come into effect until a day still to be appointed by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare by notice published in the Gazette.  The Government has indicate that it hopes to implement the Amendment Ordinance “towards the end of this year”. (

The Amendment Ordinance also introduces two further amendments:

  1. The definition of “miscarriage” will be shortened from “before 28 weeks of pregnancy” to “before 24 weeks of pregnancy”, so that a female employee whose child  is incapable of survival after being born at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy may still be entitled to statutory maternity leave if other conditions are met; and
  2. To provide that a certificate of attendance issued by a professionally trained person will be acceptable documentary proof for the purposes of entitling women to sickness allowance for any day on which the employee has attended a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy. 

The Amendment Ordinance can be found at

Joni Wong and Kim Boreham

To contact the Tanner De Witt Employment Practice, please reach out to Kim or Russell at:

Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.