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LCQ10: Statutory holiday

     Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (March 17):


     Under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57), when Lunar New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, an employee shall be granted a statutory holiday by his employer on the day immediately preceding that day (i.e. Saturday). Yet, quite a number of members of the public have indicated that such provision in effect has rendered employees of companies and organisations which have responded to the Government's appeal and implemented the five-day week losing one day's holiday. It has been reported that the Chief Executive has indicated earlier that a study would be conducted on this matter. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) it has commenced the study on amending the legislation; if so, of the progress of the study; if not, the reasons for that; and

(b) the Government has any preliminary idea as to the earliest time the proposed amendment to the legislation can be submitted to the Legislative Council for deliberation and scrutiny; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     Under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) (EO), employees are entitled to holidays on the days specified therein as statutory holidays.  In accordance with the EO, if any of the first three days of Lunar New Year (which are statutory holidays) falls on a Sunday, then the day immediately preceding Lunar New Year's Day (i.e. the first day of Lunar New Year) will be a statutory holiday. This stipulation is in line with the General Holidays Ordinance (Cap. 149) (GHO) which provides that if any of the first three days of Lunar New Year (which are general holidays) falls on a Sunday, then the day immediately preceding Lunar New Year's Day will be a general holiday.

     The above arrangement under the EO and GHO in respect of the first three days of Lunar New Year falling on a Sunday has been implemented since 1982 having regard to the views then expressed (mainly by female employees) that a holiday re-arranged to Lunar New Year's Eve could facilitate employees' preparation of family reunion dinners in keeping with Chinese customs as well as better enable them to participate in the most valuable family gathering in the year.

     We are aware that labour policy should keep abreast of times.  Therefore, we constantly review the current labour legislation in the light of changing social circumstances and economic development. The next time when a statutory holiday and a general holiday have to be advanced to a Saturday in accordance with the EO and GHO will fall in 2013. In the meantime, the Government will study the issue carefully and consult stakeholders and the Legislative Council at an appropriate time.

Ends/Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:01


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