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Hidden gems: Hiring remote workers in Hong Kong

June 26, 2024

From Victoria Peak’s panoramic views to the Po Lin Monastery’s 34-meter-tall Tian Tan Buddha statue, Hong Kong is stunning. Moreover, the territory’s natural beauty is complemented by the world’s third-highest overall life expectancy and 12th-highest income per capita.

Hong Kong’s scenic landscapes, remarkable public transit system, and mosaic of cultural influences underpin a pro-business environment that boasts an attractive talent pool for companies seeking skilled remote talent.

Here, we’ll explore the benefits of recruiting talent from Hong Kong’s well-educated, globally minded labor pool.

Advantages of Hiring in Hong Kong

Supported by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University, Hong Kong’s education system ranks 14th in the world. Combined with an international community of about 5% of the total population, Hong Kong is home to a diverse pool of worldly, skilled workers.

Here are some key facts for businesses that want to employ international talent in Hong Kong:

  • Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
  • Languages: Chinese (Cantonese) and English (both official)
  • Capital City: Victoria (commonly referred to as Hong Kong)
  • Population: 7.5 million
  • Cost of Living Rank: 56th

The Unique Work Culture of Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s professional community blends Eastern and Western influences. For instance, although Cantonese is the official language, business is often conducted in English.

The Hong Kong workforce is renowned for its strong work ethic, often working long hours and readily accepting overtime. Businesses that want to stand out in a competitive market may find it helpful to offer benefits that support work-life balance.

Internet Infrastructure and Pro-Business Initiatives

Hong Kong delivers impressive peak internet speeds that reach up to 1261.9 Mbps, but depending on location and provider, connections may fluctuate or require re-authentication.

The government is committed to reducing such disruptions and fostering a thriving remote work environment, supported by government initiatives like the “Be the Smart Regulator” program and the Top Talent Pass Scheme.

Hiring Compliantly in Hong Kong

Employment Contracts

Hong Kong employment contracts can be fixed-term or indefinite, offering flexibility for both employers and employees.

Contracts must include details such as:

  • Contact information for employer and employee
  • Job title and description
  • Salary, benefits, and bonuses
  • Working hours
  • Leave entitlements
  • Notice periods, termination clauses, and severance pay

Working Hours & Pay

There is no legal mandate in Hong Kong that standardizes work days or work weeks, maximum working hours, or mandatory overtime pay.

As outlined in their employment agreements, working hours and compensation are typically determined through negotiations between employers and employees.

Probationary Periods

Probationary periods are common and typically last between three and six months.

Termination Process & Severance Pay

Terminating an employment contract typically requires a justifiable cause. During probationary periods, a minimum of seven days is required; otherwise, a minimum of one month is necessary. Payment in lieu of notice is also an option.

In some cases, immediate dismissal due to gross misconduct is allowable. Conversely, employees can terminate their contracts without notice under specific circumstances, including reasonable fear of physical danger and ill-treatment.

At the time of termination, employees are entitled to a payout for any unused leave as part of their final salary. They may also be eligible for severance pay, determined by their length of service, with a maximum cap of HKD 390,000.

Employer Taxes

Employers must contribute 5% of an employee’s monetary wages to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). This mandatory contribution is capped at a maximum of HKD 1,500 per month, regardless of the employee’s income.

For employees paid monthly, the minimum and maximum taxable income subject to MPF contributions is currently set at HKD 7,100 and HKD 30,000, respectively.

Paid Leave Laws in Hong Kong

Vacation and Holiday

Employees are entitled to seven days of paid annual leave after 12 months of continuous employment. Employees who have worked for at least three months before a public holiday are entitled to holiday pay.

Please refer to our Hong Kong Guide for more details about Hong Kong’s vacation and holiday entitlements.

Sick Leave

Employees receive two paid sick days for each completed month of employment during the first 12 months and four paid sick days for each additional completed month.

Sick leave must be supported by medical documentation.

Parental Leave

Employees with at least 40 weeks of service are entitled to 10 weeks of maternity leave at 80% pay and five days of paternity leave at 80% pay. Fathers can also claim paternity leave for adoption of a child under 18.

Other Leave

While not legally mandated, employers frequently offer additional leave perks such as:

  • Birthday Leave
  • Work Injury Leave
  • Vaccination Leave
  • Compensation/Bereavement Leave
  • No Pay Leave
  • Marriage Leave
  • Study Leave

Why Digital Nomads Love Hong Kong

Hong Kong does not offer a specific digital nomad visa, but foreigners interested in living and working in the city have other options. One such path is the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) visa, designed to attract highly skilled talent. However, it’s important to note that this visa has specific and strict eligibility criteria.

While Hong Kong’s cost of living can be a factor for global talent interested in remote work, it’s balanced by a world-class infrastructure, a dynamic international community, and easily accessible natural attractions.

Employ Global Talent in Hong Kong with Remofirst

As an Employer of Record (EOR), Remofirst empowers companies to hire talent in over 180 countries, including Hong Kong, without the need to establish a local entity.

An EOR can handle all the complexities of employing remote talent internationally, from onboarding and payroll to compliance with local labor laws and tax regulations.

Book a demo to learn more.