Gall's employment practice details the recent amendment to the Employment Ordinance Cap. 57 ("EO"), increasing paternity leave in Hong Kong from three days to five days.

The Employment (Amendment) (No. 3) Ordinance 2018 ("Amendment Ordinance") was gazetted on 2 November 2018. Under the Amendment Ordinance, the statutory paternity leave under the Employment Ordinance Cap. 57 ("EO") will increase from three days to five days.

An eligible male employee will be entitled to take up to five days of paternity leave in respect of a child born on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance. For each confinement of his spouse or partner, a male employee will be eligible where:-

(a) he is the father of a new born child or an expecting father;
(b) he has been employed under a continuous contract; and
(c) he has informed the employer according to the notification requirements.

An employee who has been continuously employed for at least four weeks and for at least 18 hours each week by the same employer is considered to be employed under a continuous contract under the EO.

As part of the notification requirements, the employer may request from the eligible male employee a signed written statement stating that the employee is the father of the child, the name of the mother and the expected or actual date of delivery of the child.

An eligible male employee is entitled to take paternity leave any time from four weeks before the expected date of delivery to 10 weeks following the actual date of delivery. All five paternity leave days may be taken at once or separately.

To be entitled to paternity leave pay, the employee must have been continuously employed for at least 40 weeks prior to the date of the paternity leave, subject to the employee submitting satisfactory documentation to the employer. Paternity leave pay will remain at four-fifths of the employee's average daily wage. Paternity leave is in addition to rest days, holidays and annual leave to which an employee is entitled.

The Amendment Ordinance will commence on a date to be appointed by the Secretary of Labour & Welfare, and is expected to come into effect at the earliest by the Lunar New Year.

For further information on the paternity leave in Hong Kong and other employment law related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our solicitors.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.