LegCo to debate bill extending paternity leave

Flickr/Bryant Wong

Happy almost Father’s Day Hong Kong.

A bill to extend paternity leave from a paltry three days to a slightly less paltry five will be introduced to the Legislative Council on June 20.

It was gazetted on Friday, after several months of consideration. Chief executive Carrie Lam raised the idea during her policy address in October 2017.

“It would help male employees better discharge their family responsibilities around the time of their children’s birth,” a spokeperson for the Labour Department said in a statement on Friday.

Under the current policy, those who take advantage of paternity leave only receive 80 percent of their earnings — something that the new bill would not change and, the Standard writes, is a point of criticism from unions.

Paternity leave was only introduced in Hong Kong in 2015. Right now, new dads can take a total of three days off during the month before and 10 weeks after the delivery date.

The new bill would still leave Hong Kong way behind countries like Sweden and Iceland, which each give new fathers 90 days of paid leave. But five days is still better than some places, including the U.S., which has no federal paternity leave policy.

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