Legal update: Statutory maternity leave extended to 14 weeks with effect from 11 December 2020


The Hong Kong Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 (“Amendment Ordinance”) came into effect on 11 December 2020.  Below is a summary of the key provisions introduced by the Amendment Ordinance:

  1. Statutory maternity leave increases from 10 weeks to 14 weeks for employees who give birth on or after 11 December 2020.
  2. The current statutory rate of maternity leave pay (i.e. four-fifths of the employee’s average daily wages) will be used for calculating the additional 4 weeks of maternity leave, subject to a cap of HK$80,000 per employee.
  3. Employers may apply for reimbursement of the cost of the additional 4 weeks of statutory maternity leave pay through the Hong Kong Government’s Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme.  As per the Hong Kong Labour Department’s statement in December 2020, the Scheme will be implemented within the first half of 2021 and will be a one-stop online portal to facilitate electronic submission of applications by employers. Employers wishing to apply for reimbursement are required to keep records including:
    1. employers’ payment records of the 14 weeks’ statutory maternity leave pay (e.g. salary slips, bank transaction records, etc.);
    2. wage records of the 12 months preceding the commencement of maternity leave; and
    3. proof of pregnancy provided by the employee to the employer (e.g. medical certificates specifying the expected dates of confinement, medical certificates or certificates of attendance for medical examinations in relation to pregnancy).
  4. A female employee may be entitled to maternity leave if she suffers a miscarriage at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy (amended from 28 weeks of pregnancy) and provided other conditions are met.
  5. A certificate of attendance issued by a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife (as opposed to the previous requirement of a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner) is acceptable documentary proof for the purposes of entitling a pregnant employee to sickness allowance for any day on which she attends a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy.

Further details can be found in our previous articles:

Legal update: Period of Statutory Maternity Leave to be extended to 14 weeks from 11 December 2020
[Posted 12 October 2020]

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

Joni Wong

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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.