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Hong Kong

Vacation and Leave Policies

Understand the regulations on vacation and other types of leave in Hong Kong

Holiday leave

In Hong Kong, the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) stipulates that employees are entitled to paid annual leave after they have completed 12 months of continuous employment with a company. The duration of an employee's service determines their entitlement to paid annual leave. For example, employees with 1-3 years of service are entitled to 7 days of leave. For those with 3-9 years of service, there is an annual increase of 1 day, up to a maximum of 14 days.

Annual leave is accrued on a monthly basis. Any part-time or partial months of the year may be pro-rated for calculation purposes.

Scheduling Annual Leave

Generally, employers decide when annual leave is taken. However, they must give the employee at least 14 days' notice in writing. Annual leave should generally be taken in one continuous period. However, there are exceptions. For leave entitlements of up to 10 days, up to 3 days can be taken separately, the rest taken consecutively. For leave entitlements of more than 10 days, at least 7 days must be taken consecutively.

Other Important Considerations

Employers are generally required to grant paid annual leave within 12 months of the end of the leave year. Employers cannot ask employees to forgo their leave or offer cash in lieu of all accrued leave. Upon termination of employment, any accrued but untaken annual leave should be compensated with Annual Leave Pay, calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Employers must maintain accurate records of employee leave and leave calculation to ensure compliance with Hong Kong's labor laws.

Public holidays

Hong Kong celebrates 17 official public holidays each year, derived from a mix of traditional Chinese festivals, historical events, and western holidays.

Traditional Chinese Festivals

  • Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year): This is the most significant holiday in Hong Kong, usually occurring in January or February. The festivities last for several days.

  • Ching Ming Festival: This festival, typically in early April, is a time to pay respects to ancestors.

  • Tuen Ng Festival (Dragon Boat Festival): This festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (May/June) and is characterized by dragon boat races.

  • Mid-Autumn Festival: This is a harvest festival that takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month (September/October).

Historical and Political Holidays

  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day: This day commemorates the establishment of the HKSAR on July 1st.

  • National Day of the People's Republic of China: This day is celebrated on October 1st and marks the founding of the PRC.

Western-Influenced Holidays

  • New Year's Day: This holiday is celebrated on January 1st, marking the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year.

  • Easter Holidays: The Easter holidays include Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and the following Monday.

  • Christmas Holidays: Both December 25th and 26th are public holidays in Hong Kong.

Other Public Holidays

  • Labour Day: This holiday is celebrated on May 1st to honor workers' contributions.

  • The Buddha's Birthday: This holiday usually occurs in May, but the exact date varies each year based on the lunar calendar.

Important Note: The exact dates of some holidays, particularly those based on the lunar calendar, change each year. For the most up-to-date holiday schedule, please refer to the official Hong Kong government website.

Types of leave

In Hong Kong, labor laws primarily under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) mandate certain types of leaves.

Statutory Leaves

  • Annual Leave: Employees with a minimum of 12 months of continuous service are entitled to paid annual leave. The entitlement increases with years of service.

  • Maternity Leave: Eligible female employees are entitled to 10 consecutive weeks of paid maternity leave after fulfilling specific eligibility requirements and providing proper notice.

  • Paternity Leave: Eligible male employees are entitled to 5 consecutive days of paid paternity leave following the birth of their child.

  • Sick Leave: Employees can accumulate paid sick leave with a doctor's note. After the first 3 days, they receive Sickness Allowance equal to four-fifths of their average daily wages.

  • Compassionate Leave: While not explicitly mandated by law, many companies grant compassionate leave on a case-by-case basis for bereavements or attending to emergencies for immediate family members.

Additional Leaves

Some employers offer additional leave types beyond legal requirements:

  • Marriage Leave: Some employers may offer a few days of paid leave for an employee's own marriage.

  • Examination/Study Leave: Companies may support employees' development by offering time off for exams or related studies.

  • Volunteer Leave: Employers might encourage community participation and volunteering with time off for approved activities.

Important Considerations

  • Eligibility: Specific eligibility criteria may apply to certain types of leave. These are often outlined in an employee's contract or company policy.

  • Notice requirements: Employees usually need to give their employer proper notice for their requested leave period, in line with company policy.

  • Documentation: Employers might require supporting documentation (e.g., medical certificates for sick leave).

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