Employment Ordinance

Note: The Employment Ordinance is not applicable to Smart Living Masseurs who provide the massage service in the capacity of self-employed persons.

Employment Protection

Under the Employment Ordinance, all helpers, irrespective of their weekly working hours, are entitled to basic protection, as follows:

  • granting of statutory holidays
  • payment of wages and restriction on deductions from wages

According to the Ordinance, a helper employed under a continuous contract (i.e. a worker who has been continuously employed by the same employer for four weeks or more, working at least 18 hours in each week) is also entitled to other protections, including:

  • rest days
  • paid annual leave
  • sickness allowance
  • severance payment or long-service payment

Payment of Wages

Employers must agree with their helpers on the wage period. Wages shall become due at the end of the last day of the wage period and shall be paid as soon as practicable thereafter, but in any case no later than seven days after the end of the wage period.

End-of-Year Payment and Bonus

An end-of-year payment (including double pay, year-end bonus, etc.) is not expressly provided for under the Employment Ordinance. Employers should comply with the relevant terms and conditions set out in the contract of employment, if any. If the end-of-year payment is of a gratuitous nature, or payable solely at the discretion of the employer, this must be specified expressly in the contract.

Deduction of Wages

According to the Employment Ordinance, employers may make deductions from the wages of their Smart Helpers for damage to or loss of employers' goods, equipment or property by the helper's fault or negligence. In any one case, the sum to be deducted shall be equivalent to the value of the damage or loss, but may not exceed $300. The total of such deductions may not exceed one quarter of the wages payable to the helper in that wage period.

Provision of Information about
Changes in the Conditions of Employment

If an employer changes, or proposes to change, any condition of employment, the employer must inform the helper in an intelligible manner. If such change to conditions of employment is in writing or upon the written request from the helper, a copy of the written amendment must be provided to the helper.

Termination of Contract

The payments payable to a Smart Helper on termination of employment or expiry of the fixed-term employment contract depend on various factors such as the length of service, the terms of the employment contract and the reason(s) for termination of contract. In general, termination payment include:

  • any outstanding wages;
  • wages in lieu of notice, if any;
  • payment in lieu of any untaken annual leave, and any pro-rata annual leave pay for the current leave year;
  • any outstanding sum of end-of-year payments, and pro-rata end-of-year payments for the current payment period;
  • where appropriate, long service payment or severance payment;
  • other payments payable under the employment contract.


Contents of this section are extracted from "A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance" and is for general reference only. Copies of "A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance" are available from all Offices of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department. For employment contract, please refer to the sample employment contract provided in the website of the Labour Department.

For enquiries about labour legislations, employers may:

  • call the 24-hour telephone enquiry service hotline of the Labour Department on 2717 1771
  • visit the website of the Labour Department at www.labour.gov.hk