Hong Kong Labor Law: A Quick and Easy Guide for 2024 | INS Global

Hong Kong Labor Law: A Quick and Easy Guide for 2024

Hong Kong Labor Law: A Quick and Easy Guide for 2024

March 11, 2024


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Key Takeaways

  1. Hong Kong labor law is primarily governed by the Employment Ordinance
  2. Contracts may also include references to collective bargaining agreements and individual requirements, but must always meet the minimum requirements of the Employment Ordinance
  3. Hong Kong labor law is characterized as strong yet providing good opportunities for international employers


Hong Kong, a global financial hub situated in the heart of Asia, offers unparalleled opportunities for businesses seeking expansion. Renowned for its strategic location, robust financial infrastructure, and business-friendly environment, Hong Kong provides a gateway to lucrative markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Despite challenges, such as the evolving nature of Hong Kong labor law, the city’s resilience and adaptive laws make it an ideal destination for entrepreneurs and corporations alike.

With low taxes, free trade policies, and efficient regulatory frameworks, it consistently ranks among the top destinations for international business. Whether navigating Eastern or Western markets, Hong Kong’s dynamic landscape promises growth and success for ventures seeking global expansion.


Hong Kong Labor Law Regulations


In Hong Kong, labor law regulations play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of the workforce and fostering a conducive environment for both employees and employers. Governed primarily by the Employment Ordinance (EO), these regulations encompass various aspects of employment relationships, including working hours, working conditions, wages, holidays, and termination procedures.

One significant aspect of labor law in Hong Kong is the regulation of working hours. According to the EO, there are not set limits on standard working hours, nor provisions for overtime pay beyond these limits. However, common practice, including the offer of overtime for longer hours ensures that employees are adequately compensated for any additional time worked and promotes fair labor practices.

Additionally, the Employment Ordinance mandates provisions for a minimum wage, ensuring that workers receive a reasonable level of compensation for their labor. This measure aims to safeguard the welfare of low-income workers and maintain a basic standard of living in this expensive city.


Employment Contracts in Hong Kong


In Hong Kong, working contracts outline the rights and obligations of both employers and employees. These contracts typically include essential details such as job responsibilities, working hours, wages, and termination procedures.

Additionally, contracts may reference collective agreements or industry-specific regulations that further define terms of employment. Adherence to these labor regulations not only fosters transparency and accountability in working relationships but also contributes to the overall stability and integrity of the labor market in Hong Kong.

Probation periods typically range from 1-3 months. During this time, employers assess new hires while employees evaluate job satisfaction. A probation period allows for early termination if expectations are not met, providing flexibility for both parties in the employment relationship.




Working Hours and Overtime in Hong Kong


According to common practice, average working hours are typically 40-48 hours per week, spread over 5 or 6 days. Overtime for anything beyond 48 standard hours is common, though not required according to the EO and usually still subject to the consent of both the employer and the employee.

Overtime rates vary but are typically 1.5 to 2 times the normal hourly rate. Employers must ensure compliance with labor laws regarding maximum working hours and overtime compensation to safeguard employee rights and prevent exploitation. Proper documentation and agreements are essential to clarify overtime arrangements and protect both parties’ interests.


What Types of Leave are Available to Workers According to Hong Kong Labor Law?


Paid Annual Leave in Hong Kong

Employees in Hong Kong are eligible for 7-14 days of paid annual leave, based on their length of service with their employer. Employers in Hong Kong have the ability to determine when workers can take annual leave.

Sick leave


Employees are entitled to paid sick leave in Hong Kong when certified by a registered medical practitioner. The duration of sick leave and associated pay varies depending on the length of employment and medical certification.


Maternity leave


Female employees are entitled to maternity leave in Hong Kong of up to 14 weeks, with pay capped at a specified amount. This leave can commence before or after childbirth and Hong Kong labor law includes additional leave for multiple births or complications.


Paternity leave


Male employees are entitled to 3 days of paid paternity leave in Hong Kong for each child born. This allows fathers to support their partners during childbirth and early parenthood.


Family leave


In cases of family emergencies or loss, employees may take family leave for a period with pay. This enables employees to attend to familial obligations without sacrificing their income.

Also, Employees who adopt a child under the age of 18 are entitled to adoption leave, similar to maternity leave, to bond with the newly adopted child. The duration and pay entitlement are aligned with maternity leave provisions.



Termination and Severance in Hong Kong Labor Law


Hong Kong labor law outlines that the termination of employment can occur through mutual agreement, with enough notice from either party, or upon the end of a fixed-term contract. The EO governs termination procedures with specified notice periods based on the length of service. Employers must provide valid reasons for dismissal, and wrongful termination can result in legal action.

Severance pay is required for employees with at least 24 months of service if dismissed for reasons other than gross misconduct or redundancy due to genuine business needs. The amount is based on the employee’s wages and length of service, providing support during the transition period.


Doing Business in Hong Kong


The options for running a business in Hong Kong reflect the city’s business-friendly environment. Entrepreneurs can choose from a number of business structures like sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability companies (LLC).

As the recent push for digital access to Hong Kong Labor laws and company registration systems offers efficient processing, business leaders can now benefit more easily from the city’s well-established legal framework, open regulations, and robust services.


Hong Kong labor law


Why Choose INS Global to Expand to Hong Kong?


Hong Kong labor law combines a strong regulatory framework with both opportunities and stability, yet HR mistakes carry big risks. INS Global, a renowned leader in recruitment and employment outsourcing, presents a quick, safe, and simple option for businesses eyeing the Hong Kong market.

With rich experience spanning nearly 20 years, INS Global can manage all your employer obligations seamlessly, from hiring to contract termination. Our tech-forward approach and teams of HR specialists ensure adherence to payroll, tax, and benefit norms.

Contact our specialist global expansion advisors today to learn how our recruitment and EOR (Employer of Record) in Hong Kong can act as the legal employer of your workers in Hong Kong while ensuring total compliance with Hong Kong labor law.


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