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Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave

1. What conditions must a helper fulfill to qualify for paid maternity leave?

A female helper is entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave if she:

a. Has been employed under a continuous contract for not less than 40 weeks before the commencement of scheduled maternity leave;

b. Gives notice to her employer that she is pregnant and intends to take maternity leave, e.g. providing a medical certificate confirming her pregnancy;

c. Where required by the employer, produces a medical certificate specifying the expected date of confinement.

2. How is maternity leave pay calculated? When should it be paid by the employer?

a. The daily rate of maternity leave pay is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the helper’s average daily wages. It should be paid on the normal pay day by the employer.

b. After paying all maternity leave pay during the normal payroll periods, the  employer can apply to the government for reimbursement of maternity leave  pay for the 11th to 14th weeks of maternity leave required and paid under the  Employment Ordinance. Please refer to the Labour Department’s information on the “Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay Scheme” for details.

3. Can an employer dismiss a pregnant helper?

a. No, unless the helper is summarily dismissed due to serious misconduct. An employer must not dismiss a pregnant helper from the date on which she is confirmed pregnant by medical certificate to the date on which she is due to return to work upon the expiry of maternity leave.

b. If an employer contravenes the above, the employer is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of HK$100,000. The employer must also pay the helper:

● Payment in lieu of notice;

● One month’s wages as compensation;

● Maternity leave pay, if the helper would otherwise have been eligible for it had the employment continued.

c. The helper may also pursue remedies against the employer for unreasonable and unlawful dismissal under the “Employment Protection” provisions of the Employment Ordinance.