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2. What is a "continuous" contract of employment?

According to Schedule 1 of the Employment Ordinance , an employee who has been employed continuously by the same employer for four weeks or more, with at least 18 hours worked in each week, is regarded as being employed under a continuous contract of employment. Hence, a part-time employee who fulfils the above requirements is also employed under a continuous contract.


All employees who are covered by the Employment Ordinance, irrespective of their hours of work, are entitled to basic protection under the Ordinance including the payment of wages, restrictions on wage deductions and the granting of statutory holidays, etc. However, employees who are employed under a continuous contract are further entitled to such benefits as rest days, paid annual leave, sickness allowance, severance payment and long service payment, etc.


If a trade or business is transferred from one person to another, the period of employment of an employee in that trade or business at the time of the transfer shall count as a period of employment with the transferee (the "new boss"). In other words, the transfer shall not break the continuity of the period of employment for that employee.


In any dispute about whether a contract of employment is a continuous contract or not, the burden of proving that it is not a continuous contract will be on the employer.


Update: In 2024, the government proposed that the 418 requirement is to be relaxed by using aggregate working hours of four weeks as a counting unit and setting the four-week hour threshold at 68 hours. This means that an employee who has worked for the same employer and accumulated a total of 68 working hours or more in four consecutive weeks will be regarded as being employed under a “continuous contract”. The proposal has not come into effect yet.