Since the early 1990s, Hong Kong and Macau governments have been slowly but surely updating their maternity leave policies. In 1993, the Hong Kong government increased paid maternity leave from six to eight weeks. In 2003, they increased it to ten weeks. In 2004, the Macau government followed suit and increased their paid maternity leave to ten weeks.
Read more to find out how Hong Kong & Macau have updated their maternity leave policies:
How Has the Law Changed in Recent Years?
In 2017, the Hong Kong government made another update to the law, this time increasing paid maternity leave to fourteen weeks. This change was made in response to the city’s high rate of working mothers and to help new mothers manage work and personal lives more efficiently.
The government also introduced a new entitlement for fathers, who are now entitled to three days of paternity leave.
In 2018, the Macau government also updated their law, increasing paid maternity leave to fourteen weeks and paternity leave to three days.
What Are the Benefits of These Changes?
The new policies help working mothers better balance work and family life. The longer paid leave allows new mothers to spend more time bonding with their babies and recovering from childbirth.
The new paternity leave entitlement also allows fathers to take a more active role in child-rearing.
The changes to the law are also intended to help businesses by reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity. Studies have shown that employees with access to better work-life balance are more productive and have lower absenteeism rates.
How Does This Compare to Other Countries in the Region?
Hong Kong and Macau now have some of the most generous maternity leave policies in Asia. For comparison, Singapore offers sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave, while Taiwan offers eighteen weeks. The United States, by contrast, offers only twelve weeks of unpaid leave.
In Hong Kong, working mothers are entitled to fourteen weeks of paid maternity leave. They can take this leave any time before their child’s first birthday.
Macau working mothers are entitled to sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave. They can take this leave anytime between eight weeks before their expected delivery date and eight weeks after the actual birth.
Fathers in both Hong Kong and Macau also have the right to take up to four weeks of paid paternity leave. This leave can be taken at any time within the first year the child is born.
What Can Be Done to Further Support Working Mothers in These Cities?
Here’s a look at some of the biggest issues working mothers face in these two cities.
Finding Affordable Childcare
In order to address this issue, the Hong Kong government has introduced a number of initiatives, including the Working Family Allowance and the Working Mother’s Childcare Subsidy.
Lack of Flexible Work Arrangements
The government has introduced a number of initiatives to help address this issue, including the Flexible Working Arrangements for Parents with Young Children Scheme.
Lack of Affordable Housing
The government has taken some initiatives, including the Home Ownership Scheme and the Private Housing Subsidy Scheme to resolve this issue.
The Bottom Line
The Hong Kong and Macau governments have made some progress in recent years to help working mothers. However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed, and more needs to be done to support working mothers in these cities. (See also: Maternity Policies in Hong Kong)