The government has published a bill to give Hongkongers an extra five days of public holidays, to be phased in by 2030.

The bill, gazetted on Friday, will gradually raise the annual number of statutory holidays — which bosses must grant — to 17, from 12 at present. These are in addition to any annual leave which employers already grant of their own volition.

The Big Buddha in Hong Kong. Photo: Henry Wang, via Pixabay.

The government currently lists 17 general holidays but bosses are only required by law to allow workers to take 12 of them, known as statutory holidays. Workers in many blue-collar jobs have in the past only enjoyed the 12 days.

The new law will grant one extra statutory holiday every two years from 2022 in the following order: the Birthday of the Buddha, the first weekday after Christmas Day, Easter Monday, Good Friday and the day following Good Friday.

“Subject to smooth passage of the bill, the first additional statutory holiday will be designated in 2022 and the alignment of the number of statutory holidays and general holidays will be achieved by 2030,” said a Labour Department spokesperson.

The bill will be introduced in the Legislative Council on March 17.

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