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Are all employees entitled to statutory holidays? Are employers required to have employees take leave on the day of statutory holiday?

Labour Department

Are all employees entitled to statutory holidays

All employees covered by the Employment Ordinance are entitled to statutory holidays. An employer must not make any form of payment to the employee in lieu of granting a holiday (except upon termination of employment contract). In other words, "buy-out" of a holiday is not allowed. An employer who fails to follow such restriction is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of $50,000. If the employer requires the employee to work on a statutory holiday, an alternative holiday or a substitute holiday must be arranged in accordance with the Employment Ordinance. For details of the required arrangement, please click here.

A statutory holiday is not equivalent to public holiday (also known as general holiday), and the Employment Ordinance does not require an employer to grant leaves on public holidays to his/her employees.  In Hong Kong, in addition to Sundays, there are 17 public holidays but the number of statutory holidays is only 12.  For details of statutory holiday, please click here.


Employee eligible for holiday pay

An employee having been employed under a continuous contract for not less than 3 months preceding a statutory holiday is entitled to the statutory holiday, as well as holiday pay on that day.

  • Calculation of holiday pay
    The daily rate of holiday pay is a sum equivalent to the average daily wages earned by an employee in the 12-month period preceding the following specified dates.  If an employee is employed for less than 12 months, the calculation shall be based on the shorter period.

Day(s) of Statutory Holiday(s)

Specified Dates

1 dayDay of the statutory holiday
More than 1 consecutive daysFirst day of the statutory holidays

Note: In calculating the average daily wages, an employer has to exclude (i) the periods for which an employee is not paid his wages or full wages, including rest day, statutory holiday, annual leave, sickness day, maternity leave, sick leave due to work injuries or leave taken with the agreement of the employer, and any normal working day on which the employee is not provided by the employer with work; together with (ii) the sum paid to the employee for such periods.  For details please refer to “ A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance - Appendix 2” (PDF).
 

  • Deadline for payment of holiday pay
    Holiday pay should be paid to employees not later than the day on which he/she is next paid his/her wages after the statutory holiday.

The is not a legal document. The Ordinance remains the sole authority for the provisions of the law explained.

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Last update: 4 Sep 2019
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