More baby time for moms

Top News | Charlotte Luo 11 Oct 2018

Working mothers got a big helping hand: maternity leave has been extended to 14 weeks from the current 10.

It starts immediately for civil servants "to set a good example," said Carrie Lam.

For the private sector, this will have to be processed by the Labour Department and the Labour Advisory Board before it goes through Legco.

Lam said as the first female chief executive she has the "extra responsibility to devote efforts in promoting women's development."

The current 10-week maternity leave is paid at a rate of four-fifths of an employee's average wage.

Employers may apply to the government for reimbursement of the additional four weeks' salary, which will be capped at HK$36,822.

For workers with a maximum monthly income of HK$50,000, the additional four weeks' salary will be fully borne by the government.

The additional expenditure is estimated at HK$479 million.

With 95 percent of women making less than HK$50,000 a month last year, the initiative is expected to cover about 95 percent of working moms who are give birth.

Women earning more than HK$50,000 a month will not get the full four-fifths of their salary.

As wages vary in different companies it is difficult to calculate how much extra salary employers need to pay under the new initiative.

The source said hopefully the initiative could gain the Labour Advisory Board's support within the year so it can be immediately submitted to Legco.

Lam said the government will also strengthen services provided by childcare centers and home-based child carers to allow women with young kids to take work.

The government will provide baby-care facilities and lactation rooms in all new government premises and require private developers to include such facilities in future land-sale conditions.

There will also be free cervical cancer vaccinations next school year for girls of particular age groups.

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