A popular proverb says it takes an entire village to raise a child. Most of us would probably agree that it takes at least a good kindergarten and skilled kindergarten teachers to raise an expat child in Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world. This article aims to give you a valuable insight into childcare in Hong Kong.
While maternity leave and parental benefits leave a lot to be desired, you will easily find good childcare opportunities and excellent kindergartens in Hong Kong. Until your child is old enough to attend a kindergarten in Hong Kong, you can register your little one at a childcare center or easily hire someone to take care of them at home. Once they have reached the appropriate age, choosing the right kindergarten in Hong Kong is the next challenge you need to face. Kindergartens in Hong Kong vary considerably by the different teaching philosophies, curricula and religious affiliations– not to mention the noticeable differences in the tuition fee. Moreover, you can choose between a local and an international curriculum.
Depending on the labor law of your home country, you might be surprised that working mothers in Hong Kong are only entitled to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Maternity leave usually begins between 2 and 4 weeks before the baby’s due date. During this time, you receive 80% of your monthly income of the last 12 months. Unfortunately, there are no legal provisions in Hong Kong which allow fathers to take parental leave. If you are a father who would like to care for his newborn during the first weeks, you should afford to take some time off. On the upside, women who are having a baby in Hong Kong receive excellent medical care. For all the details on maternity leave in Hong Kong and your rights as a pregnant employee, check the website of the Hong Kong Labor Department.
In Hong Kong, there are no child benefits which will be automatically granted to every child. The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department does provide a range of family benefits aimed at families with severe financial difficulties. In order to be considered eligible for this financial assistance, you need to file a special application at the Social Welfare Department and you will be tested on income as well as assets.
The only financial benefit which the government grants to all parents in order to help them cope with the financial burden of raising a child is a substantial income tax benefits. If you pay income tax and you have an unmarried child under the age of 18, either you or your spouse can claim a generous child allowance on your taxes. The same applies to parents with children between 18 and 25 who study full-time at a university, college, or another educational institution.
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