The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 Extension of Statutory Maternity Leave from 10 Weeks to 14 Weeks
The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 (Amendment Ordinance), which extends the statutory maternity leave (ML) by four weeks, took effect on 11 December 2020.
The Amendment Ordinance seeks to increase the ML under the Employment Ordinance (EO) (Cap. 57) by four weeks, which should be taken by the employee continuously after the 10 weeks' ML, if so entitled. The current statutory rate of maternity leave pay (MLP) (i.e. four-fifths of the employee's average daily wages) is maintained for calculating the additional MLP payable in respect of the extension of the ML, subject to a cap of $80,000 per employee.
Employers are required to pay the additional four weeks’ MLP (i.e. 11th to 14th week) under the Amendment Ordinance on the normal pay day. Afterwards, employers may apply to the Government for reimbursement of such MLP paid. For details, please refer to the relevant information on the Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme published by the Labour Department.
The Amendment Ordinance also covers:
- updating the definition of "miscarriage" under the EO from “before 28 weeks of pregnancy” to “before 24 weeks of pregnancy” to entitle a female employee, whose child is incapable of survival after being born at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy, to ML if other conditions are met; and
- accepting a certificate of attendance issued by a medical professional as documentary proof for entitling an eligible employee to sickness allowance for any day on which the employee has attended a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy.
The additional four weeks’ statutory ML is applicable to those eligible female employees whose confinement occurs on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance. The updated definition of “miscarriage” is applicable to female employees who suffer from miscarriage on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance. As for the acceptance of certificate of attendance as proof in respect of entitlement to sickness allowance for a day on which an eligible employee attends a medical examination in relation to her pregnancy, it is applicable to medical examinations conducted on or after the commencement date of the Amendment Ordinance.