A pregnant woman walks through the new International Financial Center (IFC) in Hong Kong, May 10, 2003. (LAURENT FIEVET / AFP)
HONG KONG - The Hong Kong government will extend the city’s maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks, as the Legislative Council passed the government-proposed Employment (Amendment) Bill on Thursday on a 54-0 vote.
Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee welcomed the passage of the bill, saying that it will support and encourage working women to adopt breastfeeding for a longer period of time
The new measure is expected to be implemented by the end of this year.
According to the bill, female employees can get 80 percent of their salary during maternity leave. The government will cover the paychecks for the extended leave of absence, with a cap of HK$80,000 (US$10,300) for each employee — double what the government initially proposed.
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Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee welcomed the passage of the bill, saying that it will support and encourage working women to adopt breastfeeding for a longer period of time and thus improve the health and development of their children.
"Breastfeeding brings immediate and long-term benefits to both mothers and babies. The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding babies up to about six months of age and gradually introducing appropriate solid food while continuing breastfeeding until two years old or beyond. Such benefits from breastfeeding are proportional to duration and exclusiveness," Chan said in a statement issued by the Hong Kong government on Thursday evening.
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