12 September 2018

Survey findings by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK on
Public Attitudes towards government’s proposal to increase
the statutory paternity leaves from 3 to 5 days



The government proposed to increase the statutory paternity leave for employed males from three to five days. Labour union leaders criticised the proposed extension was not adequate enough, while some employers have strongly opposed the government proposal to increase the paternity leave to 5 days. To gauge public opinions on the government proposal, a telephone survey was conducted from 22 to 30 August 2018 by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). 710 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 36.8%. The sampling error is estimated at plus or minus 3.68 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Major findings are summarized as follows:

When asked if employed males in Hong Kong are entitled to statutory paternity leave, 74.4% of the respondents responded positively and 12.7% responded negatively. 13.0% did not know or felt hard to tell. Among those responded positively, only 37.1% could correctly indicate the length of the 3-day statutory leave. The others either thought it to be less than three days (15.2%), or more than three days (18.4%), or had no idea about the length at all (29.4%). 

The majority of the respondents (88.7%) in this survey supported the government proposal to increase the paternity leave, with only 6.3% opposed. Over half (54.5%) of the respondents did not think the increase to five days was long enough, while 32.0% of them were satisfied with the 2-day increase and 13.5% of the respondent did not know or felt hard to tell. 

The government only opted for an increase from three days to five in the proposal. Among respondents who disagreed the 2-day increase as long enough or did not know, 68.7% of them would still be willing to adopt the proposal first, while 16.8% of them refused and 14.5% did not know or felt hard to tell.

The increase of the statutory leave was alleged to increase cost of operation and to affect doing business in Hong Kong. 64.3% of the respondents disagreed with the view, while 26.5% of them agreed and 9.2% did not know or felt hard to tell. On the other hand, 80.0% of the respondents agreed that the statutory leave may raise employees’ devotion and belongingness to the workplace, while 11.3% disagreed and 8.7% did not know or felt hard to tell.

Two-thirds (67.5%) of the respondents were married, while a fourth (25.6%) of them were single and 6.9% was in other marital status or refused to respond. Children born after the enactment of the paternity leave in February 2015 were less than four years old at the time of the survey. The survey found the majority (89.3%) of non-single respondents did not have children under four years old or did not have children at all (4.2%). Only 6.5% of them had children of that age. Among all fathers with children of that age, 82.4% of them have taken the statutory leave before, while 8.8% did not take the statutory leave at all. Another 8.8% of them did not know, felt hard to tell, or were not eligible for the statutory leave as they were self-employed or out of job.

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