Following reports that Hong Kong might be standardising its number of working hours, the local government has said it is considering increasing the number of local statutory holidays.
Sing Tao Daily reported the government is considering increasing the the number of statutory holidays from 12 to 17.
The policy might, however, take five years to implement.
The Hong Kong Federation of Labour Union also said employers might be uncomfortable with increasing the number of holidays by five days within a year. Currently, they support the idea of increasing holidays by one day per year.
According to figures from the Labour Department, less than 50% of employees in Hong Kong get to enjoy 17 days of public holidays.
Many staff in the retail, hospitality and restaurant business only get 12 days of statutory holidays. The department also predicts that employers need to shell out an extra 1.83 billion in salary if there are 17 days of statutory holidays.
Employer’s representaive at the Labour Advisory Board, Irons Sze Wing Wai , president of the Chinese manufacturers’ association of Hong Kong said employees are already enjoying a lot of holidays.
“How can employers replace the manpower if staff go on leave? Does that mean they have to close the business for a day? The government should seriously consider the feasibility of arrangement,” he said.
Labour Advisory Board employee representative Chau Siu Chung said the government had done nothing for labour rights for many years and local benefits and labour rights have fallen far behind compared to other developed economies.
“The city needs to have better labour rights to stay competitive,” he said.