While signing a contract to work in a foreign country, you need to give it much thought since it has a binding effect. Knowing what you deserve as the law dictates will be to your benefit and well-being.
Does the HK government have a standard contract for domestic helpers?
The Government of Hong Kong has constituted a law protecting Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDH), which has been effective since October 1, 2021.
This law states that the minimum allowable basic salary for domestic workers is HK$4,630. Usually, many employers offer salaries higher than that.
On top of that, there are benefits such as free accommodation and meals, leave benefits, and even benefits upon leaving your job. These contracts are often binding for 2 years and are subject to renewal.
In the event that a renewal is not possible, there are processes to be done and benefits to be given to the domestic helper.
What do you need before drafting a contract for domestic helper?
Upon drafting a contract for domestic helpers, the legislation’s minimum standards should be considered. Make sure that the conditions to be provided comply with the ones stated there and if possible, as the employer, go a little beyond that. State your provisions in the simplest manner possible so as to lessen any complications or unclear clauses that might cause a problem later on.
Hong Kong’s labor law does not recommend domestic helpers to sleep in the same room as the opposite sex unless they are children, having teeenagers sleep in a different room as well. This will also allow the domestic helper to have privacy.
What to include in contract for domestic helper?
A standard contract for a domestic helper includes clauses indicating the allowed duties, living conditions, minimum wage and other concerns regarding labor laws.
As mentioned there are laws governing the minimum salary and living conditions for domestic helpers.
Firstly, a contract should last 2 years and can be terminated within a month’s notice. Extension of this 2-year contract is not possible. However, a new contract for domestic helpers with new clauses can be signed and submitted. A contract should also clearly state that the helper will be living in with the employer’s address where she works. It should also state that the duties to be performed by the helper should be exclusive to the employer alone.
- Remuneration Package
Aside from the remuneration which should be at least 4630 HKD, the contract should also state that the employer should provide reasonable living conditions and free living and food allowance. Expenses in traveling to and from Hong Kong should also be shouldered by the employers and written in the contract.
- Compulsory Leaves
Holidays and leaves should also be stated in the contract clearly. Usually, helpers have a day in a week to rest, and most of the time, it’s a Sunday. Helpers are also entitled to paid annual leaves of 7 to 14 days, which are dependent on the length of stay with the employer.
Non-stipulated rules are those that the law does not have any provision about but are areas of concern and interest for many domestic helpers.
Some of these include working hours, curfews for day-offs, working environment under certain health concerns like pregnancy.
For working hours, it is highly recommended that the domestic helper only works for less than 12 hours at most. For other concerns, it will be best to negotiate with the employer.
What are the benefits of domestic helpers in Hong Kong?
Aside from the basic salary for domestic helpers in Hong Kong, other benefits are also available– most of which are mentioned in the earlier parts.
In addition to those, termination of contract comes in 2 types, each having different conditions and benefits, but can never be availed at the same time:
1. Severance payment
This is provided upon non-renewal due to redundancy and after completing a 2-year contract with the employer.
2. Long service payment
This is given to domestic helpers getting too old (65 years old) or unfit to work, or dying. To avail of this payment, the employee needs to have completed at least five years of service under the same employer.
How to properly sign a contract for domestic helper?
Before signing a contract for domestic helper, it is best to consider the signature and contents of the agreement.
First, make sure that you are signing the contract you have agreed to.
Another point is to make sure that the person signing has the authority to really do so, and make sure they sign in the block or part of the contract assigned to each party.
Lastly, make sure that any final changes have initials, if reprinting the contract is not possible. This will legally solidify any changes indicated thereof.
When to revise the contract for domestic helper?
After the expiry of the 2-year contract, employers must submit a new contract, duly signed and submitted to concerned offices– such as labor office and immigration office. Sometimes, domestic helpers need to apply for 2 visas (for entry and extension) if they want to renew their employment contract. To be sure what you need to apply for, it is best to consult with the immigration and labor offices.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the basic salary of domestic helper in Hong Kong?
The Minimum Allowable Wage(MAW) is HK$4,630, in accordance to the Standard Employment Hiring Contract for FDH, effective starting October 1, 2021 .
2. What to do if the employer fails to provide basic benefits of domestic helper in Hong Kong?
Labor Laws state that employers who will fail to comply with the mandatory insurance requirements will pay a maximum fine of HK$100,000 and two-year imprisonment. You may file a complaint through the Labor Department.
3. What to do if the employer terminates the contract for domestic helper?
Both the employer and helper has the right to terminate the contract by giving a month’s notice. Notice of Termination of the Helper must be submitted to the Immigration Department within seven days. The employer must pay the necessary payments in line with the labor department laws.
4. How to resign as a domestic helper?
Upon resigning, make sure you have talked with your employer and have arranged necessary documents.
Make sure that any possible issues have been resolved and possible complications have been prevented, especially those concerning legal matters. Allot 1 month prior to the effectiveness of resignation as the law states.
5. What is long service payment for domestic helpers and how to get it?
Long service payment, as mentioned earlier, is given to those who have lasted more than five years in service. Upon termination of a contract either due to old age or sickness, the employer is required to give it to his or her helper within 7 days after termination.
Knowing your rights and privileges as a domestic helper in Hong Kong will get you a long way in keeping your best interests while you work and give your family peace of mind despite the distance. Therefore, it is best to get as much information as you can before applying for such as job.