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Employment law in Hong Kong - an overview

01 May 2017

With its historical ties with the West and reputation as a “gateway” to Mainland China, it is not surprising that Hong Kong is already home for many Western companies and is top of the list for those wishing to expand into Asia Pacific. This in-brief provides an overview of employment law in Hong Kong.

The employment law landscape

Although Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, the employment law environment in both regions in many ways remains poles apart. This is consistent with the concept of “one country, two systems” under which Hong Kong has been granted a degree of autonomy in certain areas since Britain handed back sovereignty to China in 1997.

Employment in Hong Kong is significantly less regulated than in China, and indeed many other jurisdictions. Unlike China, Hong Kong has a common law system under which its courts refer to precedents of other common law jurisdictions when making decisions. Hong Kong’s labour market is also a lot more flexible than China’s. Although certain minimum benefits are provided by statute, freedom of contract largely remains the guiding principle.

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