EMPLOYMENT ORDINANCE, CHAPTER 57

The Employment Ordinance is the main piece of legislation governing conditions of employment in Hong Kong. Since its enactment in 1968, the benefits provided for under the Ordinance have been substantially improved. It now covers a comprehensive range of employment protection and benefits for employees including : 

  • Wage Protection 
  • Rest Days 
  • Holidays with Pay 
  • Paid Annual Leave 
  • Sickness Allowance 
  • Maternity Protection 
  • Severance Payment 
  • Long Service Payment 
  • Employment Protection 
  • Termination of Employment Contract 
  • Protection Against Anti-Union Discrimination 
Click here for more information on the Employment Ordinance.

Employment Agency Regulations

The Employment Agency Regulations made under the Employment Ordinance regulate the operation of employment agencies in Hong Kong. The major provisions of the Regulations are: 

  • Every employment agency is required to apply for a licence from the Labour Department before undertaking any job placement business. 
  • An application for the issue of a licence must be made to the Commissioner for Labour in the prescribed form at least one month before the commencement of business. 
  • A licence is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and application for renewal has to be made not later than two months before its expiry. 
  • The maximum commission which may be received by an employment agency from a job-seeker should not exceed 10% of the job-seeker's first month's wages he received after he has been successfully placed in a job. 
  • Any agency failing to comply with the requirements of the law is liable to prosecution and revocation of licence. 

Employment of Children Regulations

The Employment of Children Regulations made under the Employment Ordinance govern the employment of children in all economic sectors. A child means a person under the age of 15 years.  Major provisions of the Regulations are : 

  • Children aged under 15 are prohibited from working in all industrial undertakings. 
  • Children aged 13 and 14 may be employed in non-industrial establishments, subject to the condition that they attend full-time schooling if they have not yet completed Form III of secondary education and to other conditions which aim at protecting their safety, health and welfare. 
  • Children aged under 13 are prohibited from taking up employment. However, for the purposes of art and training, the Commissioner for Labour may grant special permission for children to be employed as entertainers, subject to certain stringent conditions as the Commissioner may specify. 

The Employment of Children Regulations do not apply in relation to children who are registered apprentices under the Apprenticeship Ordinance (Cap. 47).

Employment of Young Persons (Industry) Regulations

Employment of Young Persons (Industry) Regulations made under the Employment Ordinance regulate the hours of work and the general conditions of employment of young persons in industrial undertakings. A young person means a person of or over the age of 15 years but under the age of 18 years. Major provisions of the Regulations are : 

  • Working time restrictions for young persons employed in industrial undertakings: 
    Maximum working hours and working days
    working hours
    a day
    8 hours
    (between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. only)
    working hours
    a week
    48 hours
    working days
    a week
    6 days
    maximum period of continuous work 5 hours followed by an interval of not less than half an hour for meal or rest
  • A notice specifying the working hours and rest day arrangement of the young persons and vetted by the Labour Department should be posted up in a conspicuous place in the workplace
  • Change of permissible working hours and rest days is not allowed unless prior notice has been served on the Commissioner for Labour 48 hours before the proposed change
  • Overtime employment, night work and working on rest days and statutory holidays are prohibited 
  • Underground work in mines and quarries or in industrial undertakings involving tunnelling operations, and carrying loads unreasonably heavy for the young person's age and physical development are prohibited 
  • Employment of young persons in any dangerous trade is prohibited