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LCQ13: Paternity leave for government employees
     Following is a question by the Hon Kwok Wai-keung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Joshua Law, in the Legislative Council today (January 17):


     Since April 1, 2012, eligible male government employees are entitled to five days' paternity leave on full pay for each confinement of their spouse/partner. Moreover, starting from February 27, 2015, eligible male employees are entitled to three days' statutory paternity leave for each confinement of their spouse/partner, and to receive paternity leave pay at a daily rate of 80 per cent of their average daily wages. It is learnt that quite a number of male employees take annual leave in addition to the three-day statutory paternity leave at the delivery of their child in order to help take care of their spouse/partner and the child. As such, the labour sector has all along been striving for seven days' statutory paternity leave on full pay. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) among the (i) male civil servants, (ii) male non-civil service contract staff and (iii) male employees of subvented organisations which have implemented the initiative of five-day paternity leave, of the respective numbers and percentages of those who were granted paternity leave each year since April 1, 2012;

(2) whether it consulted government employees and employees of subvented organisations in the past five years on the need to increase the number of paternity leave days; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that and whether it will consult those employees formally on this matter; and

(3) whether it has plans to raise the paternity leave entitlement of government employees to seven days so as to take the lead; if so, of the details and the timetable; if not, the reasons for that?



     Since April 2012, government employees may take paternity leave in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Service Regulations and the circular concerned. At present, a government employee who is employed on a "continuous contract" as defined in the Employment Ordinance and with not less than 40 weeks' continuous service immediately before the day of paternity leave is eligible for five days of paternity leave with full pay. Having consulted the relevant policy bureau, our reply to the different parts of the question is as follows:

(1) During the five financial years between 2012-13 and 2016-17, an average of about 3 000 government employees were granted five days of paternity leave with full pay each year, including around 2 900 civil servants and around 100 non-civil service contract staff. On average, the number of civil servants who had taken paternity leave was about 2.8 per cent of the total number of male civil servants each year, while the number of non-civil service contract staff who had taken paternity leave was about 1 per cent of the total number of non-civil service contract staff. The Government does not maintain statistics on paternity leave taken by employees of subvented organisations.

(2) and (3) Since its implementation, the paternity leave arrangement for government employees has been operating smoothly with positive feedback. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the arrangement, listen to the views of employees and review the details as necessary. Our guiding principle is to strike an appropriate balance between the provision of the family-friendly initiative of paternity leave for government employees on the one hand and the prudent use of public funds on the other. The provision of paternity leave for employees of subvented organisations is subject to the regulation of relevant legislation. The Government has not conducted any dedicated consultation to gauge the views of employees of subvented organisations on the need to increase the number of days of paternity leave.
Ends/Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:00
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