Public holidays in Hong Kong are important to both local and foreign businesses, as they can have an impact on business operations, earnings, and employment rights. These holidays often result in many individuals taking time off, leading to potential disruptions and slowdown in business activities.

Therefore, being well-informed about these holidays is crucial. It enables business owners and employees to plan effectively and have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities during these periods.

This blog aims to provide you with essential information about public holidays in Hong Kong and shed light on the crucial aspects of rights and responsibilities when conducting business in Harbour City.

Definition of the Hong Kong public holidays

The topic of Hong Kong public holidays often leaves many foreigners and expats feeling bewildered, mainly due to the confusion surrounding the terms: public holidays, general holidays, and statutory holidays.

To gain a clearer understanding, let us delve deeper into distinguishing between these terms.

Public Holidays

Public holidays, also referred to as General holidays, are a set of holidays observed by the entire Hong Kong population. These holidays encompass a mix of traditional Chinese festivals and international holidays.

It is common for schools, businesses, and government offices in Hong Kong to be closed on public holidays.

Statutory Holidays

Statutory holidays are legally recognized holidays under the Employment Ordinance in Hong Kong. Employees have the legal right to a day off with pay on these designated statutory holidays.

There are 13 specific days that are considered statutory holidays in Hong Kong. If an employee is required to work on a statutory holiday, they may be entitled to an alternative day off as compensation.

In summary, public holidays are observed by the general population, while statutory holidays are legally recognized holidays with specific rights and entitlements for employees.

How many holidays are there in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong celebrates 17 public holidays, 13 of which are statutory holidays for employees.

Rights and responsibilities concerning Public Holidays

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee in Hong Kong, understanding holiday rights and responsibilities ensures you can act appropriately:

If you are an employer in Hong Kong

  • It is mandatory to grant your employees their 13 statutory holidays.
  • In exceptional cases, you may ask an employee to work on a statutory holiday. However, you must arrange alternative days off in return
  • It is crucial to provide a notice to the employee at least 48 hours in advance, informing them of the need to work on a statutory holiday.
  • Employers are prohibited from making any form of payment to employees in lieu of granting a holiday.

If you are an employee in Hong Kong

It is important to understand your rights in relation to statutory holidays. Here are the key points you should know:

  • You have the right to take a day off on statutory holidays. Hong Kong has 13 statutory holidays, and you can find the specific details on the government’s website.
  • If you are required to work on a statutory holiday, you should expect to receive an alternative day off within 60 days. Additionally, your employer must provide you with a 48-hour notice in advance, informing you of the need to work on the holiday.
  • You are entitled to receive holiday pay, which is determined by averaging your daily wages over the preceding 12-month period.
  • If a statutory holiday falls on your scheduled rest day, an additional holiday should be scheduled on the following workday to compensate for it.
  • Take the time to review and understand your employment contract, paying specific attention to clauses related to holiday arrangements and compensation.

Tips for expats

For expats working in Hong Kong, there are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Review your employment contract: Carefully review and pay attention to any clauses or provisions that may be relevant to expat workers. Consider any international agreements or treaties that could affect your employment terms.
  • Stay updated on laws and regulations: Check applicable laws and regulations in Hong Kong that pertain to your employment. This will help you understand your entitlements and rights.
Hong Kong Public Holidays

For the details of 2024 statutory holidays in Hong Kong, please refer to the


As the Hong Kong public holidays play an important role to locals, foreigners should also have a comprehensive understanding of them. By doing this, you can enjoy the celebration and also successfully navigate in business, making sure that your entitlement is exercised.

Should you have any questions regarding Hong Kong Public holidays, talk to our consultants by dropping a chat message or sending an email via 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can expats coming to work in Hong Kong get to enjoy these holidays?

Yes, expatriates working in Hong Kong generally enjoy public holidays. Public holidays in Hong Kong are statutory for all workers and employees, regardless of their nationality. However, how these holidays are treated can depend on the individual’s employment contract and the employer.

Can foreigners work on these days?

Yes, foreigners (or expatriates) can work on public holidays in Hong Kong. However, certain conditions and compensations are typically provided according to the Hong Kong Employment Ordinance.

Do expats get to enjoy paid leave holidays?

Yes, expatriates working in Hong Kong typically do get to enjoy paid leave holidays. Depends on the terms of their employment contract and company policy.

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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