Termination of Contract During Probationary Period

  • Within First Month under a continuous employment contract, it is lawful for an employer to terminate the contract without notice.
  • After First Month the employer must give at least 7 days notice prior to the termination of the employment contract after the first month of probation. Alternatively, an employer may give the employee a payment sum in lieu of notice, to be calculated as the Average daily wages earned by an employee before the day on which the notice of termination of contract is given multiplied by number of days in the notice period for which wages would normally be payable to the employee. An employer may still terminate the employee without notice or payment if the employee has engaged in serious misconduct, executed a fraudulent act during work, or habitually neglects the duties of the position.

Termination of Contract after Probation (or with no probationary period)

The contract may specify the notice needed prior to contract termination, which may be no less than 7 days. In absence of the specification of notice in the contract, the employer must give notice no less than one month prior to termination.

Payment in Lieu of Notice

An employer may offer payment in lieu of notice. The payment is calculated as average daily wages earned by an employee before the day on which the notice of termination of contract is given, multiplied by number of days in the notice period for which wages would normally be payable to the employee.

Termination Without Notice or Payment In Lieu of Notice

Under very severe circumstance, an employer may terminate an employee without any notice or payment in lieu of notice. The following circumstances are considered lawful grounds:

  • The employee willfully disobeys a lawful or reasonable order from the employer.
  • Engages in misconduct.
  • Engages in fraudulent or otherwise acts dishonestly.
  • Recklessly neglects duties of the position.

The employer should pay the employee all outstanding wages within seven days following the employee dismissal.

Employees Participating in a Strike: Employees’ rights to unionize are protected in Hong Kong. As such, an employer may not terminate an employee for participating in a strike without offering notice or payment in lieu of notice.

Employee-Initiated Termination

An employee may terminate the contract without notice under the following circumstances:

  • The employee reasonably believes there is risk of physical danger at the place of employment such as violence or disease.
  • The employee has been exploited by the employer or at the place of employment.
  • The employee, on the condition that he/she has been employed for no less than five years, is certified by a registered medical practitioners or registered Chinese medicine practitioner as being permanently unable to continue his/her work without serious health risk.

Other Restrictions on Termination

If an employer is convicted of unlawfully terminating an employee by violating the restrictions below, the employer cab face a fine up to of HK$100,000.

  • Maternity Protection: Once confirmed pregnant by a medical professional, an employer may not terminate the employee until her maternity leave, if applicable, has ended.
  • Statutory Paid Sick Leave: An employer may not dismiss an employee while on paid sick leave.
  • Employee Gives Information to Authorities: An employer may not terminate an employee for giving any information to the authorities.
  • Trade Union Activities: An employer may not dismiss an employee for reasonable participation in a trade union, such as participating in a strike.
  • Work-Related Injury: An employer is not at liberty to terminate an employee with a work-related injury until the parties have entered into an agreement regarding compensation or a certificate of assessment has been issued.

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