Are all employees entitled to statutory holidays? Can employers require employees to work on statutory holidays or “pay in lieu of leave”?

Are all employees entitled to statutory holidays? Can employers require employees to work on statutory holidays or

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In our busy modern society, statutory holidays have become an important time for employees to rest and relax. However, are all employees entitled to statutory holidays? Can employers require employees to work on statutory holidays or use pay in lieu of vacation? These questions are of great importance to both employers and employees. In this article, we will look into these questions and analyze employees’ rights to statutory holidays, as well as employers’ responsibilities and authority in managing holidays.

Table of Contents

Are there conditions for employees to enjoy statutory holidays?

Can statutory holidays be “paid in lieu of leave”?

Can employers require employees to work on statutory holidays?

Supplementary leave arrangement: do statutory holidays overlap with rest days?

Are there conditions for employees to enjoy statutory holidays?

If an employee has worked under a continuous contract for three months, they will be eligible for statutory holidays, i.e. paid leave during the holidays.

Therefore, whether or not an employee is entitled to statutory holidays depends on whether or not he or she is a “continuous contract” employee. The requirements of a continuous contract are explained in the following paragraph.

Under the Employment Ordinance, all employees employed in Hong Kong are entitled to statutory holidays. However, the employee must meet the following conditions:

Have been employed continuously for three months.

Work at least 18 hours per week.

The employee is entitled to statutory holidays during the period of continuous employment, even during the probationary period.

Can statutory holidays be “paid in lieu of leave”?

For employers, if they encounter difficulties in arranging staff, they may first consider “pay in lieu of leave”, which is commonly known as “buying leave”.

However, according to the Employment Ordinance, employers are obliged to grant statutory leave to their employees and cannot pay extra money in lieu. If an employer violates this provision, he or she may be prosecuted and, if found guilty, fined up to $50,000.

Can employers require employees to work on statutory holidays?

Employers can actually require employees to work on statutory holidays, provided they comply with the law. If an employer requires an employee to work on a statutory holiday due to business needs, the employer must give the employee at least 48 hours’ notice and must arrange for the employee to take compensatory time off within 60 days before and after the statutory holiday in accordance with the law.

Good employers should have reasonable and feasible working arrangements and be flexible to avoid unnecessary disputes arising from the arrangement of “statutory holidays”.

Compensatory leave arrangement: statutory holidays and rest days overlap?

When statutory holidays overlap with working days, employees are entitled to paid leave. However, what should be done when statutory holidays and employees’ rest days meet?

If Labor Day falls on a Friday and it is also the employee’s day off, the employer should provide the employee with compensatory time off. According to the Employment Ordinance, an employee should be entitled to at least one rest day for every seven days of work. If a statutory holiday falls on an employee’s rest day, the employer should not treat the statutory holiday as a substitute for the rest day, but should provide the employee with compensatory leave on the day following the rest day.

The core purpose of the Ordinance is to require employers to provide employees with compensatory leave as soon as possible and with sufficient notice. The purpose of the Employment Ordinance is to ensure that the basic rights of both employers and employees are protected.

Therefore, company leaders should work closely with the human resources department to familiarize themselves with the terms of leave arrangements and compensatory time off in order to prevent violations of the law. If consensus cannot be reached with employees, employers may consider hiring part-time agencies to provide support instead of reducing employee benefits from statutory holidays in order to solve the manpower shortage problem.

The above information is for reference only. If you have any questions or information about tax filing (personal tax return, corporate tax return, accountant tax return), you are welcome to contact our professional consultants and we will provide you with a free quote and consultation service later.

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