Working and Maternity Leave

Find out about the laws surrounding maternity leave and the protection of pregnant women at work in Hong Kong...

Legislation protects pregnant women in the workplace and women who work more than 18 hours a week. It is in a woman's best interests to let her employer know as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed.

The relevant legislation is the Employment Ordinance (Labour Department 2001) which refers to maternity protection and guarantees the following:

  • A continuous period of 10 weeks' maternity leave for any woman who has been employed under a continuous contract at least 40 weeks prior to the start of maternity leave. Women will need to obtain a Certificate of Pregnancy from their doctor specifying the due date. Maternity leave begins between two and four weeks before this date. This period is paid at a rate of 4/5 of the usual wage
  • An additional period of no more than four weeks leave if there is illness or disability as a result of the pregnancy or the birth
  • Attendance at any medical examination relating to the pregnancy
  • Any post-natal treatment or miscarriage will be treated as sickness and will be paid
  • An employer may not dismiss a pregnant woman from the date of medical confirmation of the pregnancy to the date she is due to return to work as long as she is employed on a continuous contract and she has notified the employer of the pregnancy. (A woman may still be dismissed for serious misconduct or if on a probationary period.) This part of the legislation is very important and employers who ignore it can find themselves in serious trouble. There have been cases of unfair dismissal and discrimination due to pregnancy which have been well publicised. Women who suspect that their employer's attitude or treatment has changed due to their pregnant status should seek professional advice
  • An employer may not give a pregnant woman work that is likely to injure her or jeopardise the pregnancy

Many international firms will offer additional benefits to those listed above.