How to create offer letters for employees in Hong Kong


Jul 20, 2023

Embarking on a hiring journey in Hong Kong presents an exciting opportunity for growth. But as a US-based company, it's crucial to navigate the nuances of international hiring practices. One such pivotal step is creating the offer letter, sometimes referred to as the employment offer letter, that conveys the key employment terms and excitement of welcoming a new employee into the fold.

A well-drafted offer letter provides clarity on employment conditions and sets a positive tone for a long-lasting professional relationship. As the first official document a potential employee will receive, it creates a great first impression and helps ensure compliance with Hong Kong's labor laws, mitigating any legal risks. In this guide, we'll break down the essential components of a Hong Kong offer letter, which can act as your roadmap in this crucial phase of the hiring process.

Hong Kong job offer letter checklist

  • Position and job description: The first item in the offer letter should clearly state the job title and a comprehensive job description. This serves as the “job offer letter template” of the role, outlining the responsibilities and key performance indicators. It provides the candidate with a firm understanding of what the job entails, helping them align their expectations and ultimately contributing to a smoother onboarding process.
  • Start date and probationary period: Specify the start date and the length of the probationary period. This period, often part of the onboarding process, allows both parties to assess suitability for the role. It's usually 3-6 months but may be extended based on the complexity of the role.
  • Definition of workplace: Specify the primary location of work. In the age of remote work, this could be the company's Hong Kong office, or it might be a home address. Clarifying the workspace sets clear expectations and can help manage issues related to overtime pay or work-related injuries.
  • Compensation & benefits: Clearly outline the salary structure, payment schedule (usually monthly in Hong Kong), and any bonus or commission structures. In addition, include statutory benefits as per Hong Kong law, such as Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) contributions, annual leave, and insurance coverage. Also, specify eligibility for employee benefits like health and wellness programs.
  • Working hours: Hong Kong law doesn't prescribe maximum working hours, but the norm is eight hours a day and 40 hours per week. Whether it's a full-time position or part-time, ensure to specify the typical work schedule, including days of the week and start and finish times.
  • Sick leave and maternity/paternity leave: Detail the company's sick leave policy, adhering to Hong Kong's statutory guidelines for paid sick leave. Be sure to state the rules for accumulating sick days and the procedure for notifying the company about an illness. Also, include details about maternity leave and paternity leave in compliance with local laws.
  • Termination policy: Outline the process and conditions for contract termination, ensuring they are in line with Hong Kong's Employment Ordinance. Specify the notice period, which is generally one month in Hong Kong, and the conditions under which the contract may be terminated without notice.
  • Contact information: Finally, include the human resource management’s contact details or the hiring manager's contact information, allowing the prospective employee to ask questions or discuss any concerns regarding the offer letter. Remember, communication is a two-way street, and providing open channels for discussion builds the foundation for a strong employer-employee relationship.
  • Non-compete and non-solicit agreements: If applicable, your offer letter should contain non-compete and non-solicit clauses, which prevent the employee from competing against the company or soliciting its clients or employees after leaving. Make sure these are reasonable and enforceable under Hong Kong law.

An offer letter is an important step in the human resources process. It's the foundation of a prosperous employment relationship. Through LinkedIn or other professional platforms, your job posting can attract numerous applicants. However, it's the offer letter that converts a potential employee into a new hire. It's not just a formal offer letter—it's an invitation to be part of a company's journey and its culture. So, it's essential to get it right.

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Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: July 24, 2023

The Author

Carissa Tham

A British Columbia-based tech content strategist and writer, Carissa has lived and worked in Singapore, Taiwan, and Canada. Carissa lends her unique global perspectives to growing Rippling’s brand in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.