Rest Days, Holidays & Leaves
Please note that the information below is provided by the Hong Kong Labour Department.
As both Employer and Helper
1. How long should a helper work before he/she can enjoy the statutory holidays in a year?
2. How many days of annual leave should be given to a helper in a year?
3. Who determines the timing of annual leave taken by a helper?
4. Should annual leave include rest days and statutory holidays?
5. Should vacation leave be granted in addition to annual leave? Is it paid or unpaid?
6. Can an employer compel his/her helper to take no pay leave when the employer is going aboard?
7. What kinds of leave are foreign domestic helpers entitled to under the Employment Ordinance?
8. How should I appoint rest day to my helper?
9. Can I ask my helper to work on his/her rest day?
10. Can I ask my helper to perform duties after he/she returns home on his/her rest day?
11. Can I require my helper to work on statutory holidays?
12. Can I ask my helper to forfeit a statutory holiday in exchange for extra wages with his/her consent?
13. If a statutory holiday falls on my helpers rest day, is it obligatory for me to grant him/her another holiday?
14. How should I grant annual leave to my helper on completion or termination of employment contract?
All foreign domestic helpers, irrespective of their length of services, are entitled to the following 12 statutory holidays in a year –
- The first day of January
- Lunar New Years Day
- The second day of Lunar New Year
- The third day of Lunar New Year
- Ching Ming Festival
- The first day of May
- Tuen Ng Festival
- The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
- Chung Yeung Festival
- Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (at the option of the employer)
- The first day of July
- The first day of October
If the helper has worked continuously for the employer for three months preceding any of these holidays, he/she is entitled to the holiday pay.
A helper is entitled to paid annual leave after serving every period of 12 moths with the same employer. The helpers entitlement to paid annual leave will increase progressively from seven days to a maximum of 14 days according to the length of service as follows:
1 year of service – Helper is entitled to 7 days paid annual leave.
2 years of service – Helper is entitled to 7 days paid annual leave.
3 years of service – Helper is entitled to 8 days paid annual leave.
4 years of service – Helper is entitled to 9 days paid annual leave.
5 years of service – Helper is entitled to 10 days paid annual leave.
6 years of service – Helper is entitled to 11 days paid annual leave.
7 years of service – Helper is entitled to 12 days paid annual leave.
8 years of service – Helper is entitled to 13 days paid annual leave.
9 years of service and above – Helper is entitled to 14 days paid annual leave.
A helper shall take the paid annual leave to which he/she is entitled within the following 12 months at a time appointed by the employer after consultation with the helper, confirmed by a written notice to the helper at least 14 days in advance.
No. Any rest day or statutory holiday falling within the period of annual leave will be counted as annual leave. Another rest day or holiday must be appointed.
Vacation leave of not less than seven days should be granted in addition to the helpers entitled annual leave. However, whether this vacation leave shal be paid or unpaid would depend on the term agreed in Clause 13 of the standard employment contract.
The arrangement of taking no pay leave shall be of mutual consent to both parties. The employer shall not unilaterally impose such leave on his/her helper.
Under the Employment Ordinance, foreign domestic helpers are entitled to the following leave:
- Rest days
- Statutory holidays
- Paid annual leave
If both parties enter into a re-engagement contract, the helper shall, before the new contract commences, return to his/her country of origin at the expense of the employer for a vacation of not less than seven days according to the standard employment contract.
Leave pay and whether leave have been granted is a common cause of dispute between an employer and a helper. Leave and payment records should be kept properly to avoid future disputes.
You should provide your helper at least one rest day in every period of seven days. A rest day is a continuous period of not less than 24 hours.
Rest days shall be appointed by you and may be granted on a regular or an irregular basis.Unless the rest days are on a regular basis, you should notify the helper his/her rest days before the beginning of each month.
No. Except in unforeseen emergency, you shall not require your helper to work on his/her rest day. An employer who compels the helper to work on a rest day is in breach of the Employment Ordinance.
You may however, with the consent of your helper, substitute some other day for the appointed rest day. The substituted rest day must be granted within the same month and before the original rest day or within 30 days after it.
You should not compel your helper to perform duties on his/her rest days. However, he/she may work voluntarily on his/her rest days.
Yes, but you have to give him/her:
- not less than 48 hours prior notice ; and
- an alternative holiday within 60 days before or after the statutory holidays.
No. You must not make any form of payment to your helper in lieu of granting statutory holiday. An employer who contravenes this provision is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$50,000.
Yes. If statutory holiday falls on a rest day, a holiday should be granted on the day following the rest day which is not a statutory holiday.
When the employment contract is terminated, your helper should be given payment in lieu of any annual leave not yet taken in respect of every 12 months completed service. For more that three but less than 12 months services in every period of 12 months, your helper is entitled to pro-rata annual leave pay if the employment contract is terminated other than for the reason of summary dismissal due to his/her serious misconduct.
For Example, If your helper resigned or was dismissed after serving 18 months of services and he/she had not yet taken any annual leave, he / she should be given payment in lieu of annual leave for the first 12 completed months of service ( i.e. 7 days ), plus the pro rata sum in lieu of annual leave pay calculated to the days of employment ( i.e. 7 days + 3.5 days = 10.5 days ). However, if your helper is summarily dismissed due to his/her serious misconduct after serving 18 months, he/she would only be entitled to payment in lieu of annual leave for his/her first 12 months of service, i.e. 7 days.