A construction worker (left) handles bamboo rods, used for scaffolding, on a street in Hong Kong on June 22, 2021.
(ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong lawmakers approved a bill on Wednesday that will provide the city with five more statutory holidays by 2030 in a bid to improve the welfare of blue-collar workers.
Under the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2021, one day will be added to the 12-day statutory holiday schedule once every two years beginning next year.
The new statutory holidays include the Buddha’s Birthday, the first weekday after Christmas Day and the three-day Easter break
The new statutory holidays include the Buddha’s Birthday, the first weekday after Christmas Day and the three-day Easter break. Most of the city’s blue-collar workers were not entitled to these holidays. The Buddha’s Birthday will be the first to be added as a new statutory holiday in 2022.
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Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the schedule took into account the welfare of employees, the pressure on employers, as well as the city’s current economic situation.
About 1.2 million workers in the city, foreign domestic helpers excluded, are expected to benefit from the bill.
Speaking at the Legislative Council, Law thanked the business sector’s support, describing the approval as a move that broke a stalemate that lasted for more than a decade.
“I understand the labor sector wanted the increase to be accelerated. The government had to consider the bill’s impact on most medium-small-and-micro enterprises. They need time to adapt to the change,” Law said.
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All the amendments suggested by lawmakers, either speeding up the increase or postponing the commencement date, were dismissed.