Employment Spotlight: Statutory Holidays Could Increase From 12 to 17 Days Per Year

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced last Tuesday, 14 January 2020 that the government intends to increase the number of Hong Kong statutory holidays from 12 to 17 days.

Statutory Holidays

Currently, an employee, irrespective of his length of service, is entitled to 12 statutory holidays under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57), namely:-

  1. First day of January;
  2. Lunar New Year’s Day;
  3. Second day of Lunar New Year;
  4. Third day of Lunar New Year;
  5. Ching Ming Festival;
  6. Labour Day;
  7. Tuen Ng Festival;
  8. Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day;
  9. The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival;
  10. Chung Yeung Festival;
  11. National Day; and
  12. Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (at the option of the employer).

An employee is entitled to holiday pay for each statutory holiday taken if he or she has been employed under a continuous contract for 3 months or more immediately preceding a statutory holiday. Holiday pay is calculated by reference to the daily average of wages earned during the 12-month period prior to the statutory holiday.

General Holidays

In addition to the statutory holidays, Hong Kong has 5 additional general holidays which must be kept as holidays by all banks, educational establishments, public offices and Government departments (pursuant to the General Holidays Ordinance (Cap. 149) (“GHO”)), namely:-

  1. Good Friday;
  2. The day following Good Friday;
  3. Easter Monday;
  4. Christmas Day and
  5. The first weekday after Christmas.  

Whilst the GHO does not require an employer to make payment of holiday pay on these general holidays, in practice, many businesses do grant paid leave to their employees on the general holidays.

In Hong Kong, it is typical that many blue-collar employees only enjoy statutory holidays whilst white-collar workers have the benefit of general holidays. The effect of the government’s proposal would be to align statutory holidays with general holidays.

For further information in relation to statutory holidays and other employment law related matters, please do not hesitate to contact Andrea Randall (andrearandall@gallhk.com / +852 3405 7688), or Joni Wong (joniwong@gallhk.com / +852 3405 7616).

Contacts

Andrea Randall, Partner
Tel +852 3405 7630
andrearandall@gallhk.com

Joni Wong, Associate
Tel +852 3405 7616
joniwong@gallhk.com

All material contained in this article are provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, accounting, financial or tax advice or opinion on any specific facts or circumstances and should not be relied upon in that regard. Gall accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from action taken, or not taken, which may arise from reliance on information contained in this article. You are urged to seek legal advice concerning your own situation and any specific legal question that you may have.