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  • Five days set for paternity leave
        Date:2017-12-01 

    Dads can get up to five days of paternity leave from as early as next year.

    But instead of full pay, as demanded by the labor sector, they will get only four fifths, according to the Labour Advisory Board.

    It said a bill on paternity leave will be submitted to the Legislative Council's manpower panel for discussion next month and if passed, it is expected that employees can enjoy the leave starting early next year.

    Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had proposed the amendment in her policy address in October.

    The government predicted the change will cost firms an extra HK$84 million annually but speaking after yesterday's board meeting, employer representatives claimed that money was not their biggest concern.

    "The biggest problem is lack of manpower, especially for small- and medium-size enterprises. They don't have enough people for temporary replacements," representative Jimmy Kwok Chun-wah said.

    His colleague, Irons Sze Wing-wai, said bosses are more concerned about manpower instead of money.

    Labor representative Bill Tang Ka-piu said five days represent a good step forward, but the ultimate goal is seven.

    He cited a recent Labour Department poll which showed that about 70 percent of respondents supported extending the leave to seven days.

    Tang predicted the additional cost to reach about HK$168 million.

    The government should review the policy and attain the goal a year after implementation, he said.

    Kwok said that more than 40 percent of employers had voiced concern over manpower if the proposed leave is extended to seven days.

    But Tang said this can be discussed and agreed upon.

    "Male employees can schedule leave on different days according to the company's operational needs," he said. "It doesn't have to be like maternity leave where an employee is off for consecutive days."

    Mothers currently enjoy up to 10 weeks of maternity leave.

    Unionists have been calling for full salaries.

    Tang said the cost of paternity leave is low, as the additional social expenditure of three days of leave would only be about HK$50 million, far below K$140 million initial estimates.



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