PLC Paper No.143/96-97
Paper for the House Committee
Meeting on 26 April 1997
Legal Adviser's Report on Holidays
(1997 and 1998) Bill
Object of the Bill
To make special provisions for holidays during the period from mid-1997 until the end of 1998.
Provisional Legislative Council Brief Reference
2.CE/15/7(C) issued by the Chief Executive's Office and dated 8 April 1997.
Date of First Reading
3.12 April 1997.
4.The Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has decided that it is necessary to make transitional arrangements for public holidays in Hong Kong for the second half of 1997 and the whole year of 1998.
5.At present, public holidays (or general holidays) are regulated and specified under the Holidays Ordinance (Cap. 149) (the Ordinance). They are required to be kept as holidays by all banks, educational establishments, public offices and Government departments.
6.The Bill seeks to fully implement the decisions of the Preparatory Committee on the transitional arrangements that should be made. As far as the second half of 1997 is concerned, the effect will be to suspend 2 specified public holidays under the Ordinance, namely "the Saturday preceding the last Monday in August" and "Liberation Day, being the last Monday in August" and to introduce the following 5 holidays -
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day and its following day (1 and 2 July 1997);
- Sino-Japanese War Victory Day (18 August 1997); and
- National Day and its following day (1 and 2 October 1997).
7.As regards public holidays in 1998, the Bill retains their total number at 17 (excluding Sundays) but replaces 4 of them, namely, the Queen's Birthday, its following Monday, the Saturday preceding the last Monday in August and Liberation Day, with 4 new holidays -
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (1 July 1998);
- Sino-Japanese War Victory Day (17 August 1998); and
- National Day and its following day (1 and 2 October 1998).
8.The Bill also gives effect to the proposal made at the meeting of the Directors of the Preparatory Committee on 3 October 1996 by making the following 3 holidays additional statutory holidays under Section 39 of the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) -
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day and its following day (1 and 2 July 1997); and
- National Day (1 October 1997).
Under the Employment Ordinance, a statutory holiday is required to be granted to an employee by his employer. Where the employee has been employed under a continuous contract for a period of 3 months immediately preceding a statutory holiday, holiday pay is payable for such holiday.
Related Bills now before LegCo
Employment (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997
9.A Member's Bill, the Employment (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997, has been presented to the Legislative Council on 9 April 1997. Its sole purpose is to make 1 May a statutory holiday under the Employment Ordinance.
10.This amending Bill is, legally speaking, not incompatible with the Holidays (1997 and 1998) Bill, since the former should only affect statutory holidays from 1998 onwards whereas the latter only those in the second half of 1997. In other words, if both of them are passed, they could take effect conjunctively.
Public Holiday (Special Holidays 1997) Bill
11.The Public Holiday (Special Holidays 1997) Bill is a Government Bill gazetted on 18 April 1997 for presentation to the Legislative Council on 23 April 1997. It seeks to specify 1 and 2 July 1997 as statutory holidays under the Employment Ordinance and as general holidays under the Holidays Ordinance.
12.In so far that the Bill declares those 2 days as both statutory and general holidays, it duplicates part of the effect of the Holidays (1997 and 1998) Bill. Although there is no conflict in policy, one will make the other redundant to that extent depending on which of them is made into law first.
13.The Bill only makes some short term arrangements for holidays in accordance with the initiatives of the Preparatory Committee and its Directors. Nevertheless, these may have some implications on the shape of future holidays in 1999 and beyond.
14.This is the first Bill introduced by the Chief Executive to the Provisional Legislative Council. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order subject to some minor committee stage amendments to be made by the Chief Executive's Office (as set out in the Appendix). Unless Members wish to raise any issue as to its contents or to deliberate on the way forward in view of paragraphs 9 to 12, the Bill should be ready for resumption of second reading.
CHEUNG Ping-kam, Arthur
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
23 April 1997