FAQs on domestic helper maternity leave

Are domestic helpers entitled to maternity leave in Hong Kong?

Yes, domestic helpers are entitled to maternity leave in Hong Kong. 

According to the Employment Ordinance, Cap. 57, a pregnant employee means a female employee whose pregnancy has been confirmed by a medical certificate. A woman employed under a continuous contract of not less than 4 weeks are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave which may commence from 2 to 4 weeks before her expected date of delivery.

About domestic helper maternity leave: When should an employer provide maternity leave pay?

An employer is obligated to provide their domestic helper with maternity leave pay before the start of her maternity leave, if the helper has been working for not less than 40 weeks.

If the domestic helper has been working for the employer for less than 40 weeks, then she is entitled to maternity leave without pay.


About domestic helper maternity leave: Pay calculation

Maternity leave pay is calculated as 80% of the daily average wage paid to the employee. A domestic helper’s maternity leave pay is due on the helper’s normal pay day and must be paid within 7 days.

Domestic helper maternity leave pay example:

If the domestic helper started working for the employer on 1st January 2023 and began taking maternity leave from 1 February 2024, she is entitled to maternity leave pay. If her monthly salary is $4,870, the domestic helper’s maternity leave pay total would be calculated as follows:

Daily rate: $4870 x 12 / 365 x ⅘ = $128.09

Total maternity leave pay over the 14 week period: $128.09 x 98 days = $12,552.82

NOTE: Since December 2020, Hong Kong’s statutory maternity leave has been extended from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Employers who have paid the maternity leave pay of the 11th to 14th weeks are eligible to apply for reimbursement under the RMLP Scheme, subject to a cap of $80,000 per employee. More information is available on the Labour Department’s Easy Reimbursement Portal.

About domestic helper maternity leave: Can a domestic helper live out?

No, the live-in arrangement continues during a domestic helper’s maternity leave. 

According to the standard employment contract, the domestic helper on maternity leave may only reside in the home of the employer at the specified address. There is no exception unless the domestic helper takes her maternity leave outside Hong Kong.

More about domestic helper maternity leave: What should an employer consider if the helper decides to return to her home country for maternity leave?

1)Travel restrictions

Employers must be aware of airline restrictions on pregnant passengers. Most airlines do not accept guests who are more than 35 weeks pregnant. You may wish to discuss the possibility of the domestic helper leaving Hong Kong earlier while she can still travel by air, whether paid or unpaid, before her scheduled maternity leave.

2)Maternity leave salary payment

Employers must also discuss the options for the domestic helper’s maternity leave payment. If she does not have a Hong Kong bank account, it would be convenient to set one up before she leaves Hong Kong. She will also need to ensure access to the bank account while outside of Hong Kong to verify payments to her account.

Employers can also consider other digital payments for the domestic helper’s maternity leave and online remittances in lieu of cash, such as Alipay or WeChat Pay.

More about domestic helper maternity leave: Is the employer responsible for paying the flight to the helper’s home country during maternity leave?

No, the employer is not required to pay for the flight if the domestic helper takes her maternity leave outside Hong Kong. The domestic helper is responsible for her own travel expenses. If the employer offers to pay for her airfare, we recommend clarifying to the domestic helper whether it is a gift or a loan to be repaid at a later date to avoid any misunderstanding.

There is no statutory guideline for employers to provide food allowance during the domestic helper’s maternity leave. However, it is always good to discuss this with the domestic helper beforehand.

Hiring local domestic helpers

We recognise that employers can face difficulties in hiring an immediate replacement or substitute whilst the domestic helper is on maternity leave. Employers need to be aware that part-time employment for foreign domestic helpers currently working a full-time employment visa is illegal, and would incur heavy penalties by the Hong Kong government for both parties.

Read our information on hiring a local part-time domestic helper

Hiring part-time domestic help is usually advertised through online forums such as Geoexpat and Asiaxpat, or through the online portal provided by the Labor Department. For more information please refer to the Hong Kong Government’s website.


Download Fair Agency’s Free 20-page Guide on Part-Time Domestic Helpers

We’ve put together information on direct hire platforms and businesses in Hong Kong offering part-time domestic work services such as cleaning and child-minding. You can find general contact details, service details, and pricing details in this PDF.


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