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Planning for the year-end: what HR tasks should Hong Kong employers consider?

Hong Kong
Written by
Lewis Silkin, a specialist employment law practice in Hong Kong.
As the end of the year is drawing near, HR teams have a variety of tasks that need to be completed. While Hong Kong employment law is relatively employer-friendly, there are still a few issues that you should bear in mind when drawing up your HR plan for the year-end and the upcoming new year. What follows are some useful end of year HR tips for Hong Kong.

Arrange for any year-end performance reviews

Depending on your organisation’s policy, you may need to schedule year-end performance reviews for your colleagues. In Hong Kong, there is no statutory requirement that performance reviews must be conducted, nor is there any statutory rule that governs the procedure for performance reviews. Do however make sure that these reviews are conducted in accordance with your organisation’s policy, as failure to do so could be a cause of legal disputes.

Update payroll information

Some employees may be entitled to pay rises with effect from next year, and/or year-end bonuses (contractual or discretionary) due to their promotions or good performance. Do make sure that any changes to remuneration terms are accurately reflected in your payroll system, internal records, and tax filings.

Review employees’ personal data

Under Hong Kong data privacy laws, employers are under a duty (amongst others) to ensure that the employees’ personal data they hold is accurate. Over the past year, some employees may have married, given birth or moved to a new house. Year-end is a good time to review employees’ personal data to make sure that it is accurate and up-to-date, and if necessary, ask them to verify any information.

Determine the 2020 holiday schedule

The list of public holidays for 2020 is set out on the Hong Kong Government’s website.

This can help you to determine any early release days, company events or retreats. You may also wish to disseminate this information to your staff.

Do remember the distinction between ‘statutory holidays’ and ‘public/general holidays’ under Hong Kong law. In Hong Kong, there are 12 statutory holidays and five general holidays, so 17 public holidays altogether. The five general holidays are:

  • Good Friday;
  • the day following Good Friday;
  • Easter Day;
  • the Buddha’s Birthday; and
  • the day following Christmas Day.


Under the Hong Kong Employment Ordinance, all employees must be granted statutory holidays. While general holidays are normally observed by banks, education institutions, government offices and most multinational companies in Hong Kong, it is not compulsory for organisations to grant these general holidays to their employees, only the statutory ones.

Watch out for any updates to employment-related legislation

As of now, there are no fixed dates for any employment-related legislation to come into force in 2020. However, you are recommended to keep abreast of the following developments which may potentially take place in 2020 or the next few years:

  • The Hong Kong Government’s proposal to amend the existing anti-discrimination ordinances, which include expanding the scope of protection from sexual, disability and racial harassment between persons working in a common workplace, and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding. The relevant bill may be passed in 2020.
  • The Hong Kong Government’s proposal to extend statutory maternity leave from ten weeks to 14 weeks. The relevant bill may be passed in 2020.
  • The Hong Kong Government’s proposal to abolish the MPF (pension) offset mechanism against long service payment or severance payment payable to employees. The relevant bill may be passed in 2022.
Kathryn Weaver
Partner - Hong Kong
Lewis Silkin (Hong Kong)