Adoption Leave in Hong Kong – 香港領養假

Adoption Leave in Hong Kong – 香港領養假

Adoption Leave in Hong Kong – 香港領養假 1400 934 Adam Hugill
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Adam Hugill discusses adoption leave and the main difference with maternity/paternity leave. While some multinational companies grant adoption leave benefits to their employees, Hong Kong has implemented no legislation to assure that adoptive parents are afforded the time off work to take care of their new family members. On the bright side, there are some positive developments about increasing maternity/paternity leave.

The event is part of the #ProtectYourChildren campaign. From 9 November – World Adoption Day – to 6 December 2020 Hugill & Ip Solicitors celebrates Adoption Awareness Month. We wish to spread awareness about issues related to the protection of minors and to raise funds to benefit the children without families and pregnant teenagers in Hong Kong.

Every contribution to Mother’s Choice counts. Our vision is to see every child in a loving family, giving hope and changing the life stories of vulnerable girls and babies.





00:24 The many differences between pregnancy and adoption – 生育和領養大不同

01:32 The situation in Hong Kong – 香港的情況

02:14 Recent developments about maternity/paternity leave – 產假/侍產假的最新發展

03:03 Still a long way to go… – 家庭友善的政策遠遠落後…

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Donate a minimum of HK$4,800 from 9 November to 6 December 2020 and then book your appointment with us before 30 April 2021. Your donations can benefit your children or you may nominate a friend or someone in need via Mother’s Choice families’ network.




Adoption leave, or even wider ‘parental leave’, is commonplace is many jurisdictions, including Singapore, Japan, Australia and throughout Europe. Hong Kong does not have in place any statutory requirements or formal government guidance relating to adoption leave.

There are many factors that differentiate adoption from pregnancy. Pregnancy lasts 9 months and, in most cases, parents are aware of the expected date of birth well in advance, giving them months to prepare. The adoption process is very different. Potential adoptive parents will have been on an approved list for months, if not years – and then, almost out of the blue, they will be informed that they have been matched with a child. From the time of being matched to the time when the child arrives at home is only around one month – which is really no time at all for someone to completely turn their life upside down.

Adoptive parents face additional difficulties. At the time of being matched, the parents might not be aware of the age or gender of the child. Their child might be a baby, but more often than not, it will be a toddler or older child. Toddlers and older children will have almost certainly experienced great upheaval in their short lives and will come into the family with their own emotional and special needs. Most newly adopted children will be suspicious and distrusting of their new parents and so it is essential that the parents can dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to building a loving and trusting relationship. For working parents this will require one or both of them to take a significant amount of time off work. It is perhaps not surprising that Hong Kong has not implemented laws relating to adoption.

Adoption in Hong Kong continues to have a fairly low level of awareness and it is not something that is applicable or relevant to most families. This also means that most employers don’t receive requests for adoption leave on a regular basis. While multinational companies might have implemented their own adoption leave policies (more often than not adopted from policies operating in their home or overseas offices) other employers are forced into making ad hoc piecemeal arrangements, usual combining a mixture of exceptional paid leave intended to match maternity / paternity leave entitlements, unpaid leave, annual leave and part time working.

With a quickly declining birth rate, the Hong Kong government has become aware of the need to implement more family-friendly workplace legislation. Paternity leave is only a fairly recent development and the period of paternity leave was only increased from 3 to 5 days last year.

The Hong Kong government has passed legislation to extend the period of paid maternity leave. Maternity leave is currently only 10 weeks, 2 to 4 of which are taken before childbirth, leaving only 6 – 8 weeks after childbirth for mothers to care for and bond with their baby before returning to work. From the 11th December 2020 paid maternity leave and the corresponding protection from termination will increase to 14 weeks. While this is an improvement it still falls short of the maternity and paternity leave granted in many other jurisdictions including China and Singapore.

There is no expectation that Hong Kong will implement laws relating to adoption leave at any time in the near or even distant future. One of the purposes of our campaign with Mothers’ Choice is to raise awareness of adoption and the issues that adoptive parents face, hopefully encouraging employers to give this issue greater consideration when preparing or reviewing their HR policies.



生育和領養之間有著莫大的差別。懷胎九月,大多數情況下,父母都會知道預產期,可以提前做好準備。而領養過程卻非常不同。準領養父母會被納入配對名單等候配對,等待時間可以是數月,甚至數年。然後,可以在幾乎毫無準備的情況下,突然被告知配對成功。由配對成功到迎接孩子回家大概需時一個月左右 – 對於要習慣一個完全不同的生活模式的確是一個很短的時間。







This video is for informational purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal or professional advice.

Adam Hugill

Adam advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious legal and commercial issues, with a special emphasis on employment law in Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region.

All articles by : Adam Hugill
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