Gov't backs extended maternity leave

October 11, 2018

Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong said the best way to pay for the proposed extension of maternity leave is for the Government to finance it.


Dr Law spoke to the media today to elaborate on measures in the Policy Address, which proposed to extend statutory maternity leave from the current 10 weeks to 14 weeks.


Employers may apply for government reimbursement for the pay for the additional period, with a cap of $36,822 per employee.


Dr Law said: “If we ask the employers to bear the full cost of the whole period of 14 weeks of maternity leave, according to international experience and actually it’s a conclusion of the International Labour Organization, such an arrangement will be unfavourable to female employees.


“The responsibility of financing maternity leave should not rest on employers per se because it is basically a social policy for all female citizens in Hong Kong. So there is a public dimension and policy dimension. So there is a role for the Government to play.”


He added that in many other countries, payment of maternity or paternity leave is primarily made by insurance.


“We don’t have such a social insurance type of arrangement in Hong Kong. So the best alternative is for the Government to finance the additional four weeks. So there is no intention that this arrangement will phase out in the future.”

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