The South China Morning Post has become one of the few Hong Kong companies to offer employees in same-sex marriages equal benefits to their heterosexual colleagues.
Announced during an internal meeting open to all staff on Friday, the latest arrangement meant SCMP employees in same-sex relationships would be able to enjoy up to three days of leave after they get married in other jurisdictions. They could also apply for medical benefits for their spouses under the company’s insurance packages.
The arrangement was effective from July 1.
South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu said the move was “an important step” for the company.
“We’re a global news organisation. We have many employees from all around the world, dozens of countries, some of which recognise same-sex marriage. We wanted to make sure there was equality of benefits,” Liu said.
“Since we spotted this gap where some employees enjoy certain benefits and others do not, we wanted to close that gap.”
The company also decided to extend medical benefits to employees’ adopted children.
While Hong Kong has not yet recognised same-sex marriage, the city’s Court of Final Appeal earlier in July handed down a landmark ruling which required immigration authorities to grant same-sex partners spousal visas, previously available only to heterosexual couples.
The court’s decision came as a British lesbian, identified only as QT, applied for a judicial review after the Immigration Department rejected her application for a dependant visa. QT entered a civil partnership in Britain with her spouse, known as SS, months before SS secured a job and they moved to Hong Kong in 2011.
Recruiters earlier said the top court’s decision would give the city an edge in hiring foreign talent.
In another case, a gay civil servant Angus Leung Chun-kwong took his employer, the Hong Kong government, to court to claim for spousal benefits for his British husband Scott Adams.
While Leung won the case in April last year, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s decision in June.