PLC Paper No. LS 31

Paper for the House Committee Meeting of the
Provisional Legislative Council
on 17 October 1997

Legal Service Division Report on Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997

Object(s) of the Bill

To amend the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) ("the EO") to -

  1. designate 1 July and 1 October as statutory holidays in place of the existing two floating holidays under the EO;

  2. suspend the operation of 1 May as a statutory holiday for the year 1998; and

  3. make technical and textual amendments to the provisions on statutory holidays.

PLC Brief Reference

2.EMB CR 8/3231/97 III dated 14 October 1997 issued by the Education and Manpower Bureau. Members may also refer to an Information Paper for the Panel on Manpower of the PLC dated 30 September 1997 issued by the Education and Manpower Bureau. The said paper was tabled at the meeting of the Manpower Panel held on 30 September 1997.

Date of First Reading

3.15 October 1997.


4.Following the enactment of the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Ordinance 1997 (100 of 1997), which added 1 May as a statutory holiday, the Administration has conducted an overall review of the provisions on statutory holidays under the EO.

5.Under the EO, a 'statutory holiday" means a holiday for which an employee is entitled to receive pay if he has worked under a continuous contract for his employer for not less than three months preceding a statutory holiday. There are at present a total of 11 statutory holidays in a year, two of which are "floating" holidays to be fixed by the employer.

6.The Bill seeks to abolish the floating holidays and make 1 July and 1 October statutory holidays in place of the existing floating holidays under the EO. The number of statutory holidays will remain to be 11 after the amendment.

7.The Bill also suspends the operation of 1 May as a statutory holiday for the year 1998. According to the Information Paper provided by the Administration, the reason for proposing to make 1 May an additional statutory holiday with effect from 1999, instead of 1998 under the Amendment Ordinance is because of the list of general holidays for 1998 as provided in the Holidays (1997 and 1998) Ordinance (111 of 1997) does not include 1 May. General holidays apply to banks, schools and government offices whilst statutory holidays apply to all employees other than civil servants, including those of banks and schools. The addition of 1 May as a statutory holiday in 1998 will lead to the undesirable situation whereby banks and schools will have to grant holidays to their employees although, for operational reasons, they may need to maintain business as usual. Although employers can assign an alternative holiday to their employees, they may have difficulties in staff deployment. This problem will also occur to non-governmental bodies which, because of trade practice or other operational reasons, have to continue their business on 1 May which is not a general holiday.

8.According to the Administration, to make 1 May a statutory holiday from the year 1999 instead of 1998 onwards will afford the Administration time to resolve the difficulties outlined in paragraph 7 above.

9.Other provisions of the Bill deal with the holiday arrangement where the Lunar New Year's Day or the second or third day of Lunar New Year falls on a Sunday and the application of alternative holidays and substituted holidays to a holiday required to be granted where a statutory holiday falls on a rest day or a statutory holiday falls on the same day as that of another statutory holiday.

Public Consultation

10.The Administration has consulted the Labour Advisory Board ("LAB"). Most of the members of the LAB endorsed the proposed amendments at its meeting held on 15 August 1997.

Consultation with PLC Panel

11.An Information Paper on the results of the review of five labour-related ordinances issued by the Education and Manpower Bureau was circulated to members of the Panel on Manpower at its meeting held on 30 September 1997. The proposed amendments are outlined in the Information Paper.


12.The Bill does not introduce major changes to the existing policy in relation to the granting of statutory holidays. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order.

Prepared by

FUNG Sau-kuen, Connie
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
14 October 1997