Upcoming Labor Law changes in Asia
There are several upcoming employment law changes/amendments across Asia. They are briefly detailed below.
Hong Kong – Increase in Statutory Maternity Leave
On July 9, 2020, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, which increases the statutory maternity leave for female employees from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. The amendment shall become effective on December 11, 2020.
Key changes via the Ordinance
- Increase in the period of leave – Currently, a female employee is entitled to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Effective 11 December 2020, all-female employees shall become eligible for 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, if the actual date of confinement is on or after such date.
- Payment during Maternity leave – Currently a female employee who has been employed for a continuous contract for not less than 40 weeks immediately before the commencement of the scheduled maternity leave, she further is entitled to maternity leave pay at the rate of four-fifths of her average daily wages. As per the amendment, the daily rate of the additional four weeks’ maternity will remain four-fifths of the employee’s average daily wages, but the additional pay will be capped at HK$80,000 (about US$10,322). This will be paid by the Hong Kong government on a reimbursement basis by way of an administrative scheme.
- Definition of Miscarriage -The Miscarriage period has been modified from 28 weeks to 24 weeks. A female employee who suffers miscarriage at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy will be entitled to maternity leave subject to other conditions.
- Sickness Allowance – A female employee who is absent from work in order to attend a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy can submit a certificate of attendance as proof instead of a medical certificate.
Japan – Amendment to Childcare and Family Care Leave Act
An amendment in the Child Care and Family Leave Act has been brought which will provide more flexibility to employees in terms of taking off from work to provide care and support to the family members. The amendment will become effective on Jan 1, 2021.
Under the current regime, an employee is eligible to take half a day leave to provide care for a sick or injured child or family member. After the amendment becomes effective, an employee shall be entitled to take such care-related leave on an hourly basis.
Employers shall grant such time off from work to employees on a continuous hourly basis starting from the employee’s daily start time or until their finishing time.
Along with the change in the manner of taking leave, now all employees who work for equal to or less than 4 hours per day shall also be eligible to take time off from work for the purpose of child or family care on an hourly basis, in contrast to the current scenario, where such employees are not allowed to take time off for care related purposes.
The amendment also provides flexibility to the employers engaged in certain businesses, the nature of which makes it difficult for them to allow employees to take time off on an hourly basis. In such cases, a labor-management agreement can be signed between the employer and employee allowing the employers to refuse a request for such time off from work.
Vietnam – New Labor Code to come into effect on January 1, 2021
In Vietnam, the New Labor Code 2019 will be brought into effect on January 1, 2021, which will bring in various new changes with respect to the employment relationship, overtime policy, regulations on salary payment, etc. Some of the important changes in relation to leaves and overtime have been outlined below for reference purposes:
- Overtime – Under the new Labor code, the monthly overtime cap has been increased from 30 hours to 40 hours. Also, overtime works up to 300 hours in a year is permissible comprising the manufacturing and processing of textiles, garments, etc.
- Public Holiday – The number of public holidays has been increased by one day. National Day public holiday will consist of 2 days namely, the second day of September and the previous or next day at the employer’s discretion to identify the specific one.
India – Welcomes Four New Labor Laws in 2020
Effective 28th September 2020, the Government of India passed the three labor code bills – the Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020; the Industrial Relations Code, 2020; and the Code on Social Security, 2020. Parliament had passed the Wage Code in August 2019.
The 4 Acts have also received the President’s assent. The reforms allow industries flexibility in hiring and retrenchment and also expand the social security net for both formal and informal workers. A detailed white paper is available on the below link.