Hong Kong Public Holiday 2021: Guide and Employer Obligations | Company formation in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Public Holiday 2021: Guide and Employer Obligations

Estimate time to read: 3 min

The melting pot of Western and Eastern cultures, Hong Kong is truly a unique town! Despite becoming Chinese sovereignty today, after 156 years of colonialism, we can still witness the enduring influence of the UK in Hong Kong. The best living examples of British influence in Hong Kong are the National Public Holidays in Hong Kong.

Throughout this article, to help you get a head start in planning your calendar now, we are looking to provide an overview of all the Hong Kong public holidays in 2021. Considering that these public holidays will also help you boost your annual leave! We will also revisit the subject of Hong Kong employers’ obligations regarding how to handle annual leave claims for their employees.

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The Holiday System in Hong Kong

The holiday system in Hong Kong is separated from the one in Mainland China. While Mainland China’s nine-fiver festivals are only entitled to 7 public holidays, Hong Kongers are intended to 17 public holidays, celebrating long-established Chinese festivals such as the Lunar New Year/Ching Ming Festival, as well as key Western festivals such as Christmas and Good Friday. Such 17 public holidays are also classified as bank holidays and are decided by the General Holidays Ordinance. During these public holidays, bank employees, educators, government departments, and social institutions usually have a day off. It also refers to all “white-collar workers.”

List of holidays in Hong Kong in 2021

Employees in Hong Kong to take their annual leave

Many employers may find themselves with employees who have a significant amount of accrued but untaken annual leave in a year where COVID-19 has regulated travel. The many important reasons why employees should take their annual leave include taking a break for well-being purposes, risk management of having to hand over the issues of the employee for a period while the employee goes on leave, and simple good time management and planning as employers will not want the bulk of their employees to take a large amount of leave at the same time as travel opens up a closure.

What Employees Should Recognize:

Employees willing to use their annual paid leave to take full advantage of all the public holidays that Hong Kong has to give can contact their bosses before requesting their annual paid leave rights. An employer’s permission should be obtained for a period not less than at least 14 days in advance. However, if mutually agreed upon by both parties, such a period can be revoked.

What employers should take care of:

Employees willing to use their annual paid leave to take full advantage of all the public holidays that Hong Kong has to give can contact their bosses before requesting their annual paid leave rights. An employer’s permission should be obtained for a period not less than at least 14 days in advance. However, if mutually agreed upon by both parties, such a period can be revoked.

When an employee uses their annual leave as annual leave links tightly with payroll control, Hong Kong employees have some points to take into account. Proper payroll process control will not only guarantee that employee salaries are correctly measured, it will also enable a Hong Kong employer to stay consistent with the various job laws of Hong Kong.

First, employers in Hong Kong should note that they are expected to keep accurate records of the salaries and job histories of their workers, and all related accounting and payroll records must be held for at least seven years. Furthermore, employers shall record on an annual basis all compensation charged to workers.

Furthermore, if an individual makes use of his annual leave on the same day as a public holiday in Hong Kong, those days shall be counted as annual leave. The Hong Kong employer would provide its respective employee with another rest day or vacation if such a case were to arise. These workers would also have the right to earn pay after their annual leave entitlements.

The annual leave pay daily rate is equal to their average daily income earned. If the employee involved has been working for a period of fewer than 12 months, their annual pay leave shall be equal to the first day of employment of the employee concerned.

There may be situations in which an individual may choose not to use their annual pay leave to accept reimbursement instead. When an employee has taken use of a left-right of more than 10 days, they can receive payment.

Important Notes to look out for:

  • According to Hong Kong rules, the immediately following weekday would be a public holiday if a designated public holiday falls on a Sunday or the same day as another holiday.
  • If either the Lunar (Chinese) New Year Day, the second Lunar New Year Day, or the third Lunar New Year Day falls on a Sunday, the fourth Lunar New Year Day is designated as a substitute statutory and a general holiday.
  • Private companies in Hong Kong have the right, in addition to official public holidays, to determine their schedules and to grant their employees extra holidays.
  • An employee who has been employed for no less than 3 months under a continuous contract is entitled to holiday pay equal to the average daily salary earned by the employee in the 12 months preceding the holiday.

Conclusion

Both the employee and the employer benefit from taking annual leave. To work out a leave schedule, an employer should consult with its employees. For those where no agreement can be reached on the time to take annual leave, the process is available for the employer to grant the employee statutory annual leave, and, depending on the contractual arrangements, requires the employee to take annual contractual leave as well.

Employers should also review their employment contracts and annual leave policies to ensure that these documents give them the flexibility to deal, among other things, with annual leave.

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