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Understanding Your Leave Entitlements in Hong Kong: A Comprehensive Guide to Statutory Holidays, Annual Leave, and More

All employees in Hong Kong are entitled to leave on statutory holidays, regardless of their length of service.

Hong Kong’s Statutory Holidays in 2024:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1): 1 day

  • First three days of Lunar New Year (late January or early February): 3 days

  • Ching Ming Festival (April 4): 1 day

  • Labor Day (May 1): 1 day

  • The Birthday of the Buddha (May 15): 1 day

  • Tuen Ng Festival (June 10): 1 day

  • Establishment of the Hong Kong SAR (July 1): 1 day

  • The day following the Chinese Mid-autumn Festival (September 18): 1 day

  • National Day (October 1): 1 day

  • Chung Yeung Festival (October 11): 1 day

  • Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas (December 22 or 25, at the employer's option): 1 day

  • The first weekday after Christmas (December 26): 1 day

If a statutory holiday coincides with an employee’s day off, the employer must provide a day off on the subsequent day that is not a legal holiday, an alternative holiday, a replacement holiday, or another day off.

Increasing Statutory Holidays

According to the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, statutory holidays will progressively increase to 17 days starting in 2024:

Year

Newly Added Statutory Holiday

Total Statutory Holidays

From 2024

The first weekday after Christmas Day

14

From 2026

Easter Monday

15

From 2028

Good Friday

16

From 2030

The day following Good Friday

17

Employees employed continuously by the same employer for at least three months under a continuous contract (four weeks or more, with at least 18 hours worked each week) are entitled to receive pay for statutory holidays, to be provided by the next scheduled wage payment after the holiday.

Employers can request employees to work on statutory holidays but must give at least 48 hours prior notice and schedule an alternative holiday within 60 days before or after the statutory holiday. Employers must maintain clear records documenting the alternative or substitute holiday taken. Substituting holiday payment is prohibited, and fines of up to HK$50,000 (US$ 6,398) can be imposed on employers who fail to comply.


Annual Leave

Employees are legally entitled to paid annual leave after completing 12 months of continuous employment with a company. The entitlement to paid annual leave increases with the length of service, from seven days to a maximum of 14 days.

Years of Service

Days of Leave

1

7

2

7

3

8

4

9

5

10

6

11

7

12

8

13

9 or more

14

Employers must give 14 days written notice of the time they have selected for annual leave. Annual leave should be taken within 12 months of the end of the leave year, and employees can take their leave consecutively or divide it. Leave entitlements not exceeding 10 days can have up to three days granted separately, while the balance should be granted consecutively.

Employees can accept payment in lieu of the part of their leave entitlement exceeding 10 days. Any accrued and untaken statutory annual leave from the previous leave year exceeding 10 days can be taken as payment.

Failure to grant or pay annual leave can result in fines of up to HK$50,000 (US$6,300).

Sick Leave

Employees can take paid sick leave if:

  • The leave is at least four consecutive days (with some exceptions).

  • A medical certificate supports the leave.

  • The employee has accumulated sufficient paid sickness days.

Paid sickness days accumulate at a rate of two days per month during the first 12 months and four days per month thereafter, up to a maximum of 120 days.

An employee is not entitled to sickness allowance if:

  • They refuse treatment without reasonable excuse.

  • The sickness day falls on a statutory holiday.

  • Compensation is payable by law (Employees’ Compensation Ordinance).

Maternity Leave

Pregnant employees are entitled to:

  • A continuous period of 14 weeks of maternity leave.

  • Additional leave if childbirth occurs later than expected.

  • Up to four weeks of additional leave for illness or disability due to childbirth.

Maternity leave pay is calculated at four-fifths of the employee's average daily wages earned in the 12 months leading up to the first day of maternity leave. Employers can apply for reimbursement for the 11th to 14th weeks of maternity leave pay, up to HK$80,000 (US$10,200) per employee.

Paternity Leave

Male employees are entitled to five days of paternity leave for each confinement of their spouse/partner if:

  • They are the father of a newborn child.

  • They have been employed under a continuous contract.

  • They have given the required notification to the employer.

Paternity leave pay is calculated at four-fifths of the employee's average daily wages earned in the 12 months preceding the first day of paternity leave.

Other Leave

Other types of employee leave are not defined in Hong Kong law and must be mutually agreed upon in the employment contract.



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