Key Upcoming Changes in Hong Kong
Record Increase in Hong Kong Minimum Wage
The Executive Board recently endorsed the greatest increase in the statutory minimum wage (SMW) recommended by the Commission on the minimum wage. The increase in SMW from HK$34.5 per hour to HK$37.5 per hour is estimated to benefit 75,500 low-paying staff.
The Minimum Wage Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 3) Notice 2019 will be published in the Government Gazette on 18 January and placed on 23 January before the Legislative Council. The revised SMW shall take effect on 1 May 2019, subject to the approval of the Legislative Council.
Under the minimum wage order (cap. 608) The Minimum Wage Commission shall report its recommendation to the Government on the amount of the minimum hourly wage rate prescribed at least once every two years. The next SMW review will take place no later than 2021.
Under the current Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57), if SMW applies to an employee and the salary payable in a salary period is less than $14,100 per month, the employee’s salary and employment records should include the total number of hours worked by that employee during that salary period. As a result of the SMW increase, the Employment Ordinance (Amendment of the Ninth Schedule) Notice 2019 will also be published on 18 January and will enter into force on 1 May 2019 to simultaneously change the monthly monetary cap from HK$14,100 to HK$15,300.
Notification Requirements Relating to Paternity Leave
Ordinance 2018 (Amendment Ordinance) (No.3) shall enter into force on 18 January 2019. The amendment is intended to increase the statutory paternity leave from 3 days to 5 days for male employees with children born on or after 18 January. To qualify for paternity leave, a male employee who intends to take paternity leave must notify his employer:
- Of his intention at least 3 months before the expected date of the delivery of the child; and
- The intended date of his leave before taking the leave.
If an employee has already given notice of three months, he may take paternity leave immediately after having informed his employer of the actual leave dates. If an employee does not give his employer advance notice of three months, he must notify his employer at least five days before that date of each intended date of his paternity leave.
For an employee with a child born on or after 18 January 2019, if he has informed his employer of his intention to take paternity leave before the start of the amendment (i.e. the first three days of paternity leave) before the newly increased fourth and fifth days (extended leave), he must give his employer at least 5 days’ notice of the actual dates of extended leave.
Edited by: Shreya Bhattacharya