Here we summarise a selection of the expected developments in Hong Kong employment law in 2015.
Paid Paternity Leave
From 27 February 2015, eligible male employees who are fathers to be will be entitled to receive three days paid paternity leave at a daily rate of four-fifths of their daily wages. Employees must have at least 40 weeks’ service and must give advance notice to the employer in accordance with the new procedure.
Minimum Wage Increase
Subject to the approval of the Legislative Council, a higher minimum wage rate will be implemented on 1 May of this year. The new rate will be $32.50 per hour, which is an 8.3 per cent increase on the current $30 hourly rate.
Working Hours Assessment
Hong Kong employees are notorious for working long hours, so much so that the Government set up the Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) in 2013. The SWHC is proposing to introduce a “standard working hours” policy in Hong Kong, and public consultation on this commenced last year. The subject is controversial and new laws may be introduced this year.
The Government intends to improve the Mandatory Provident Fund arrangements to better cater for retirees. $50 billion has been earmarked for addressing this. The approach to immigration is also changing, with the Government pledging to take a more proactive approach to attracting talent and professionals to Hong Kong. Proposals include relaxing the stay arrangements, adjusting the General Points Test for migrant admissions, and introducing a scheme to encourage Hong Kong nationals who have emigrated overseas to return to Hong Kong to work. Further details are yet to be announced.