For the first time in nearly 40 years, Hong Kong has increased maternity leave, which — together with other legislation passed recently — also provides additional protections for breastfeeding mothers. Under the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019, passed by the Legislative Council in July 2020, statutory maternity leave under the Employment Ordinance in Hong Kong will be expanded from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. The additional leave will be funded by the government, with a subsidy limit of HK$80,000 per employee.
The increase is expected to go into force by the end of 2020. In conjunction with other legislative developments, including the passage of the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018 on 11 June 2020, which provided stronger protections for breastfeeding women in employment, provision of services and facilities, and education, Hong Kong is making progress toward meeting the World Health Organization’s recommendation that children should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives.
Of course, much remains to be done with respect to the issues facing mothers of young children. Click here to read the blogpost by Alice Cabrelli of Ally Law member Boase Cohen & Collins, in which she takes a closer look at Hong Kong’s recent maternity- and discrimination-related legislation and examines the challenges that lie ahead.