Hong Kong Employer of Record


If a lack of speed or local expertise are among your top concerns when expanding to or employing workers in Hong Kong, an employer of record may be the best option for achieving your global growth objectives.

An employer of record, sometimes known as an international PEO, enables you to quickly hire and onboard workers in Hong Kong―often in as little as two weeks―without having to take on the cost and risk of establishing a local entity.

Learn about the hiring, employment, payroll and benefits requirements for workers in Hong Kong and how our employer of record service, Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO), and local HR experts can help you manage your international employment needs.

Hiring in Hong Kong

The primary statute that regulates employment in Hong Kong is the Employment Ordinance, with a number of additional ordinances handling topics such as discrimination and labor relations.

Although labor unions, collective bargaining and strikes are permitted and employers cannot dissuade, punish or terminate employees for participating, employers have no obligation to bargain with unions and collective bargaining agreements are not legally binding.

Since employment in Hong Kong is highly regulated, compliant employment contracts are an essential business need. As your employer of record and PEO in Hong Kong, we can ensure that every contract, for every worker, meets all requirements. We can also provide you with guidance about cultural norms and hiring best practices and keep you up-to-date with employment regulations as they change.

Employment contracts in Hong Kong

As you look to hire employees in Hong Kong, here are some common regulations you’ll need to know to create a compliant contract, as well as how an employer of record and PEO can provide support for your unique HR needs.

Working hours
The workday in Hong Kong is not regulated, aside from workers 15 to17 years of age, who may not work more than eight hours a day, six days a week or overnight. Employees are entitled to one day of rest every seven days, although it does not have to fall on the same day of the week.

As you consider the appropriate salary to offer new employees, keep in mind:

  • Minimum wage is HK$37.50 per hour.
  • Overtime pay is determined solely by employer-employee negotiations.

As your employer of record in Hong Kong, we can provide you with resources and insights about employee compensation, so you are better equipped to make a competitive employment offer.

Although not required by law, it is common to give employees an end-of-year bonus, usually equal to one month’s pay.

Probationary period
A probation period of three months may be agreed to in an employment contract. Either employer or employee may terminate the contract within the first month without giving notice.

Termination and severance
Either employer or employee may terminate a contract without cause with advance notice, and either party may provide payment in lieu of notice. When an employee is terminated for cause, however, no notice is required. The Employment Ordinance stipulates that participation in a strike is not considered cause.

Several classes of employees may not be terminated except for cause, including pregnant employees who have notified their employer of the pregnancy and employees on paid sick leave.

Employees may resign without notice under certain circumstances; for instance, if they’re being ill-treated by their employer or have been employed for at least five years and are medically certified as unfit for the type of work being done.

Severance pay generally equals either two-thirds of an employee’s monthly wages or two-thirds of HK$22,500 (whichever is less) for each year of service.

As your employer of record in Hong Kong, we can work with you to quickly handle the unforeseen event of an employee termination, providing legal guidance and a personalized process that ensures you stay out of labor court.

Employee benefits and paid leave in Hong Kong

When negotiating terms of an employment contract with a candidate in Hong Kong, here are some of the statutory benefits and paid leave requirements to keep in mind, as well as how an employer of record can support your company’s benefits strategy.

Maternity leave
Pregnant employees who have been employed for at least four weeks are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave, which can begin anytime between two and four weeks before the expected delivery date.

An employee who has been employed continuously by their current employer for at least 40 weeks is entitled to 80% of their pay. Workers employed for fewer than 40 weeks are not compensated for maternity leave unless their contract states otherwise.

If a pregnant employee experiences illness or disability as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, they may take additional leave of up to four weeks.

Employees who have been working for the same employer for at least 12 months are entitled to paid leave according to the following schedule:

  • Less than three years of employment: Seven days of paid leave per year
  • Three or more years of employment: Eight days of paid leave per year, plus an extra day for each additional year of employment up to a maximum of 14 days

At least seven days of annual leave must be taken consecutively, and accrued leave must be taken within 12 months. An employee can opt for payment in lieu of annual leave over 10 days.

Twelve holidays are observed in Hong Kong each year:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Lunar New Year (first three days)
  • Ching Ming Festival
  • Labor Day
  • Tuen Ng Festival
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
  • National Day
  • Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Chung Yeung Festival
  • Christmas Day or the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival (employer’s choice)

Employees are entitled to holiday pay if they have been continuously employed by the same company for at least three months beforehand.

Sick leave
Employees accrue paid sick leave as follows:

  • Two days for each month of employment during the first year.
  • Four days for each month of employment thereafter.

A maximum of 120 days of sick leave may be accumulated.

Sick leave is unpaid unless the employee takes at least four days in a row and submits a medical certificate. Sick leave pay is equal to 80% of regular pay.

Time off for prenatal doctor visits is treated as sick leave.

Health coverage
The government provides public healthcare free of charge (or for a small fee) to all residents and non-residents with the exception of dental care, which is not covered. Many residents, however, opt for private health insurance.

While it is not mandatory for companies to offer health insurance, many do in order to remain competitive.

As your employer of record in Hong Kong, we may be able to provide optional supplementary medical insurance coverage for professionals and their dependents at a more cost-effective rate.

In Hong Kong, employers and employees each contribute 5% of the employee’s salary to Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (MPF), which are privately managed retirement plans. When an employee changes jobs, they can move their pension  to the new employer’s MPF. Funds can be withdrawn at age 65 or 60 for those who take early retirement.

Workers’ compensation
The Employees’ Compensation Ordinance requires employers to have insurance in order to compensate employees who sustain a work-related injury or illness. This includes medical costs and other compensation.

For temporary incapacity of three days or less, the employer decides how much to compensate the employee. For incapacity lasting between three and seven days, the employer and employee negotiate. And for incapacity lasting longer than seven days, the Labour Department decides.

Compensation is required even in the case of employee negligence unless it is attributable to alcohol or drug use. In those cases, compensation may be due if serious and permanent disability or death results.

Employer social costs will cover a large portion of employee benefits in Hong Kong, but we can consult with you about supplemental coverage options, such as additional pension contributions or life insurance, if needed.

Employee onboarding with an employer of record in Hong Kong

We write and validate all local employment contracts, streamlining the onboarding process for you and your employees in Hong Kong—all you have to do is provide relevant information and review and approve the employment agreement.

As your employer of record in Hong Kong, we will:

  • Schedule a welcome call to discuss HR and employment information for Hong Kong, as well as answer any questions
  • Prepare a customized employment contract in English and in Chinese (or other local language)
  • Share the employment contract and benefits information with the new employee for signature and review
  • Gather tax and banking information from the employee to set up payroll
  • Provide a local point of contact to the employee to answer any questions regarding their employment, local HR or payroll

The entire onboarding process for the employee is often completed in as little as two weeks.

Partner with Safeguard Global as your Hong Kong employer of record and PEO

With over a decade of service, we are the longest-serving employer of record and PEO provider in the international market. Organizations around the world rely on Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO) to expand and hire in over 179 countries around the world, quickly and compliantly.

We’ve seen just about every global employment circumstance imaginable—and with our extensive knowledge of local law and culture, we know what it takes to get employment right in Hong Kong. We provide written contracts in the local language, salaries in the local currency and HR support in your employees’ time zone.

Additionally, as a global payroll provider we support payroll administration—including payments, filings and other calculations—in more than 150 countries and can accommodate the payroll outsourcing needs of any size organization.

Whether you’re looking to hire as part of a strategic expansion or to meet specific talent needs, our global solutions advisors can walk you through your international hiring options so you can make the right choice for your organization. Contact us today.

The information provided on or through this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Safeguard Global expressly disclaims any liability with respect to warranty or representation concerning the information contained herein, including the lost essence, interpretation, accuracy and/or completeness of the information in transit and language translation.

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