HR Solutions & Employee Relations in Hong Kong with IRIS  

IRIS HR consulting has experience helping businesses grow in Hong Kong. Without expert guidance, it can otherwise be risky and costly to leave local laws and legislation open to interpretation. For a scalable, compliant operation, IRIS can manage your HR in Hong Kong to help businesses hire, recruit, and pay staff overseas in new, unfamiliar countries. As a popular destination for businesses, IRIS can navigate local barriers – from culture to compliance – to arrive at a rewarding opportunity for your business to thrive in this exciting Asian marketplace.  

Take your business to Hong Kong with IRIS HR Consultancy.

Working in Hong Kong

Global expansion in Hong Kong

Boastful economic policies, which enjoys great freedoms, along with stable politics and pro-businesses sentiments – Hong Kong has been historically been celebrated as a key destination for business. Hong Kong has support from mainland China, along with surrounding trade partners, mostly owed to its strategic geographic position. It’s a sophisticated setting marked by continual innovation and a modern skyline.  

Hong Kong benefits from liberal immigration policies and the likes of work visas, foreign investment and entrepreneurs are encouraged. Hong Kong is a truly continental setting, built by foreign investment and keen to advance its reputation as a getaway for business in the East.  


Hong Kong and the Principle of a Free Market  

Hong Kong is often easily identifiable for its strategic location, enjoying trade partnerships with the Asian Pacific market or within the mainland. Yet, Hong Kong is perhaps more economically successful because of its belief in a free, open market at a local level. This means investments, either coming in or going out, are not limited by obstructive governance. This lack of restrictions covers foreign exchange controls and foreign ownership. Paired with a corruption-free scheme and strong banking, Hong Kong is market founded on opportunity.  

Establishing your business in Hong Kong  

Embarking on a global expansion is a strategic move to gain extra value from exciting foreign markets, which are constantly evolving and full of opportunity. But the international stage isn’t always easy to navigate.  

Before entering this market, you will need to honor labor regulations, which have tightened over the years for international investors. Despite being advantageous for business, employers will need to observe statutory rules on employment and service. Complying with these procedures can be easier when you partner with IRIS HR consultants – we can help you reach Asian markets like Hong Kong.  


Employment laws in Hong Kong

When first expanding your business into Hong Kong, navigating local laws, legislation and rules of employment laws is no small feat. Throughout Asia, these laws are almost never universal. Rather, employment is dynamic and reflects the countries social, economic, cultural opportunities.  

For example, the guiding piece of legislation governing employment conditions is known as the Employment Ordinance (EO). The EO covers all employees with a few limited exceptions (family members living at the same address as the employer, certain employees working outside of Hong Kong, and apprentices etc.).  

Did you know?

Any person who is a non-Hong Kong resident and requires an employment visas to work here will require a local sponsor, who will be responsible for repatriation of the employee after their permit expires.   

Employment in Hong Kong

Employment rights & contracts in Hong Kong

There is existing legal requirement for an employment contract to be completed in writing. Although, if an employer requests a contract prior to the commencement of their role, then an employer is obliged to provide the following written particulars on the conditions of their employment:  

  • Wage expectations 
  • Wage periods  
  • Notice periods (on termination of contracts) 
  • Termination notice  
  • End of year payment entitlement 
  • Additional compensations  

Oral contracts are, generally, considered binding. 

Hiring & recruitment in Hong Kong

When getting your first hire overseas, you will need to negotiate terms of employment. But that requires local knowledge, strict compliance, and an understanding of what to include in an offer and thereafter – including before, during and after the commencement of an employment contract. 

What are the working hours in Hong Kong?  

Special regulations will apply to those considered ‘young people’ or under 18 years of age. Outside of this expectation, there are no existing statutory limits on maximum working hours. However, the EO does allow for a rest period within every seven days.  

Overtime in Hong Kong  

There is no regulation regarding overtime in Hong Kong and employers are not obliged to issue higher premiums as a benefit for additional work.  

Sick Leave in Hong Kong   

Employees on permanent contracts are entitled to 80% of their average daily wages if they are off work due to illness or injury, within at least four consecutive days, and have accrued enough sick days to cover the period.  

There are exceptions in the case of pregnancy and post-natal sickness where the employee is entitled to sick pay for any period of sickness absence.  

Maternity Leave in Hong Kong

Employees on continuous contracts are entitled to 80% of their average daily wages, provided that they are off work due to illness or injury for at least four consecutive days and have accrued enough sick days to cover the period. There are exceptions in the case of pregnancy and post-natal sickness where the employee is entitled to sick pay for any period of sickness absence, be it less or more than four days. 

Public Holidays in Hong Kong  

Hong Kong celebrates 12 annual holidays, which are typically granted as paid leave.  

  • New Year’s Day – 1 January 
  • Lunar New Year’s Day 
  • Second Day of Lunar New Year 
  • Third Day of Lunar New Year 
  • Ching Ming Festival 
  • Labour Day – 1 May 
  • Tuen Ng Festival 
  • Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day – 1 July 
  • The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival 
  • Chung Yeung Festival 
  • National Day – 1 October 
  • Chinese Winter Solstice Day or Christmas Day (at the option of the employer) 

Vacation or Annual Leave 

Vacation benefits are earned after a year of continuous service, where the rate of 7 days for unpaid leave applies for those with a length of service between one and three years. Thereafter, vacation accrues at a rate of one extra day per or until the maximum of 14 days.  

The EO allows for 12 public holidays.  

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Deliver your business to new, exciting markets with confidence and compliance.

End of Service 

HR in Hong Kong requires compliance not only during an employee’s service, but also at the end of it. End of service might include severance, termination, redundancy, and leaving packages. Or, for globally mobile companies with teams in foreign markets, this could be repatriation services for those returning from an assignment overseas.  

For these more complicated matters, you will need expert HR guidance to navigate labor laws and remain compliant.  

Hiring in Hong Kong

Termination in Hong Kong   

There are certain exceptions when it comes to termination as some employees receive special protection against dismissal, including pregnant employees, employees on paid sick leave and employees with trade union membership.  

Otherwise, employers must provide reasonable grounds for dismissal, such as relating to conduct or capability. This changes if the employee is still on a probationary period, where there is no statutory notice for those with service periods under one month – if not, this can range from 7 days to a month, depending on the contract.  

Retirement & pensions in Hong Kong   

Despite the lack of a central state pension, the government provides age-related benefits which have two elements, CSSA (Comprehensive Social Security Assistance) and the Old Age Living Allowance under SSA.   


Settlements Agreements  

Such an agreement would generally lay out the arrangements relating to the terminated employee and their relinquished role, and this might include a waiver from the employee of any contractual claims against the employer.  

Post-Employment Restrictions  

Employers may enforce post-termination non-competition restrictions only where the former employee has particular influence over customers or was privy to confidential business information. This is to ensure no particular competitive advantage is gained after the conclusion of a role.  

Industrial Relations  

Trade unions have very little influence in Hong Kong, and collective agreements and bargaining are rarely engaged in.  

HR in Hong Kong

Why Partner With IRIS?

When entering new, exciting countries in Asia, like Hong Kong, you will need an employment specialist to navigate the parts of local laws that are mandatory and those that are not. Delivering a compliant solution, IRIS can help your business arrive into new marketplaces whilst protecting your workforce – our partners can discover power and protection through us.  

Overseas expansions can seem risky to those who dare it alone. Understanding the complexity of a fully compliant solution, IRIS can help businesses reach Asia, especially when they build bridges in Hong Kong.  

Our cost-effective, knowledgeable approach to HR in Hong Kong makes us an ideal partner to commence your overseas plans.