OPINION: The benefits of paternity leave are well-documented. When fathers equally share the duties of rearing newborns with mothers, family bonds are strengthened and all involved are healthier and happier. That, in turn, flows through to society and the economy, bridging gender and pay gaps and for nations with fast ageing populations, providing the conditions to boost flagging birth rates. But laws mandating time off work and incentives are not enough; there also has to be wide societal and cultural acceptance.
The Hong Kong government published the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Gazette on December 27, 2019, which implements changes in relation to statutory maternity benefits. The bill was introduced to the Legislative Council on January 8, 2020 for its first reading and is currently being considered by the Legislative Council.
The Hong Kong government has announced a HK$10 billion welfare package, though has denied the relief measures are connected to the city’s seven months of protest and social unrest.
On 29 November 2019, the Chinese government released the Interim Measures for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Residents to Participate in the Social Insurance Scheme in the Mainland (Measures). The Measures, which will come into effect on 1 January 2020, require employers in Mainland China (Mainland) to register employees who are Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan residents (HMT Residents) for social insurance and to make contributions.
OPINION: It is essential for adoptive parents to spend time with their new child to establish a bond and gain trust. Hong Kong laws don’t allow for this, but companies are starting to offer parental leave and flexible hours.
What set Shenzhen apart during transformation to a metropolis of 12 million was that it was positioned to learn from Hong Kong, including housing policy. The approach of selling land to developers for residential and commercial development was eventually replicated across the country. What sets Shenzhen apart now is that it plans to head in another direction to avoid Hong Kong’s property woes, which officials largely blame for the current social unrest.
A new round of a one-off living subsidy was the centrepiece of a raft of welfare measures that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor unveiled in her third policy address aimed mainly at helping the city’s poor cope with high property prices. Lam made the key spending commitment for low-income households not living in public rental housing and not receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), in addition to the first round of the subsidy announced by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in August.