Dismal maternal leave in Hong Kong

Starting from 1 January 2007, parents of new born children in Germany are entitled to share 14 months of parental leave with two thirds of their net salary paid. The news reminded me of the dismal maternity leave Hong Kong mothers have.

While the mothers in Germany have maternity leave of up to 14 months, mothers in Hong Kong have a paltry 2.5 months only. And do take note that it is maternal leave, not parental leave, meaning that only mothers are entitled to the leave and father are not allowed to share in the leave.

While the dismal maternal leave is affecting many families, there is little voice raised against the system. Well, maybe once a year, women labour groups come out in protest but their voice is quickly submerged. It seems that people are not satisfied with the system but they accept it as it is because they don’t believe that they should/can change it.

Hong Kong is an advanced economy in Asia. But its labour protection is hardly mature and advanced. So are other advanced economies in Asia such as Taiwan – Taiwan has only 56 days of maternal leave. I wonder if an economy is still an advanced one when the government is so reluctant to give a better quality of life to its people, such as giving a generous parental leave to those becoming mothers and fathers.

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