Country Information

Hong Kong is officially known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR). It is a special administrative region within China. Approximately 7.5 million people living in the 1,104-kilometer island, making it one of the world’s most densely populated areas. Hong Kong is distinguished by a highly diverse population, low taxes and a relatively low level of governmental interference within private-sector industries, which offers multiple opportunities for companies considered expansion in Asia.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in Hong Kong can be verbal or in writing. A written employment contract should include:

  • The name of the employer and employee
  • Location of the employer and where the work is to be performed
  • The amount of salary, payment intervals and any bonuses
  • Vacation and other leave entitlements
  • Duration of contract (if for a fixed term)
  • Probation period (if applicable)
  • The notice period and other requirements related to termination of the employment contract
  • The employment contract must be signed by both the employer and employee
Working Hours

There are no fixed working hours in Hong Kong and the number of hours an employee works will depend on the position and industry. However, it is common for employees to work 44 hours a week. Expectations around the number of working hours and days, as well rest periods and overtime should be detailed in the employment contract.

Sick Leave

Employees receive two days of sick leave per month and four days per month after the first year, up to a maximum of 120 days. Employees can use their sick leave allowance if they:

  • Are out of the office for four consecutive days
  • Have a medical certificate
  • Have accumulated enough paid sick days
Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive 14 weeks of maternity leave related to the birth of a child. Two to four weeks of leave may be taken before birth, with the remaining taken following the birth. Maternity leave can be extended for a number of reasons, including illnesses related to the pregnancy or birth. To qualify for maternity leave, employees must have 40 weeks of service and have worked a minimum of 18 hours per week. Expectant mothers who do not meet these qualifications can still take a reduced amount of leave. Male employees are entitled to five days of paternity leave if they have at least 40 weeks of service, they are the father of a new-born child or a father-to-be, have been employed under a continuous contract and have given the required notification to the employer.

Compensation

Bonuses are not mandated by Bonuses in Hong Kong are common but not required. If bonuses are included as part of an employee’s compensation package, the is typically paid at the end of the year or the end of the employment contract.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive seven days of paid annual vacation after a year of continuous employment. Vacation leave increases by one day per year, starting in year three, until it reaches 14 days starting in the ninth year of service. Employees can carry over unused vacation days into the following year.

Public Holidays

The following public holidays are observed in Hong Kong:

  • The first day of January Jan. 1, 2022)
  • Lunar New Year’s Day (Feb. 12, 2021; Feb. 1, 2022)
  • The second day of Lunar New Year (Feb. 14, 2021; Feb. 2, 2021)
  • The third day of Lunar New Year (Feb. 15, 2021; Feb. 3, 2022)
  • Ching Ming Festival (April 4-5, 2021; April 5, 2022)
  • Labor Day (May 1, 2021; May 1, 2022)
  • Tuen Ng Festival (June 14, 2021; June 3, 2022)
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (July 1, 2021; July 1, 2022)
  • The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Sep. 22, 2021; Sep. 10, 2022)
  • Chung Yeung Festival (Oct. 14, 2021; Oct. 4, 2022)
  • National Day (Oct. 1, 2021; Oct. 1, 2022)
  • Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (optional)(Dec. 25, 2021; Dec. 25, 2022)
  • In addition to public holidays, some Hong Kong employers also offer:Good Friday (April 2, 2021; April 15, 2022)
  • The day following Good Friday (April 3, 2021; April 16, 2022)
  • Easter Monday (April 5, 2021; April 18, 2022)
  • Buddha’s Birthday (May 19, 2021; May 8, 2022)
  • Eighth day of the fourth month (Lunar calendar) (May 19, 2021; May 8, 2022)
  • The day following Christmas Day (Dec. 26, 2021; Dec. 26, 2022)
Health Insurance Benefits

Hong Kong has a mix of public and private healthcare systems. Employers often offer health insurance.

Employment / Termination / Severance

Employment may be terminated at the end of the contract (if for a fixed-term), by the employee (with or without cause), or by the employee. The employment contact can be terminated by the employer or an employee via issuing notice period of a month, or payment in lieu of notice. If there are no clauses in the employment contract regarding notice, the notice period is one month. Eligible employees are entitled to severance in the amount of 66% of monthly wages for each year service up to a maximum amount. Severance can be offset by any contributions the employer has made to the pension fund.

Local Laws & Regulations

We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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Partnering with Atlas when expanding into Hong Kong, can dramatically reduce the standard brick and mortar processes of doing business in foreign markets and allow you to focus on what you do best, growing your company! To discover more about how Atlas can simplify your ability to expand globally, please feel free to contact us.
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