FAQs on domestic helper sick leave

Are domestic helpers entitled to paid sick leave?

According to the Employment Ordinance, if a domestic helper falls sick, an employer is required to grant the helper with the necessary sick leave as well as paid sickness allowance (if enough paid sick leave days have been accrued by the domestic helper).

When is a domestic helper entitled to paid sick leave?

A domestic helper is entitled to paid sick leave if:

  1. they have a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner in Hong Kong approving at least 4 consecutive days of sick leave, and;
  2. they have sufficient paid sick days accrued.

Sickness allowance (eg. sick leave pay) is to be paid at a rate of no less than fourth-fifths (80%) of the domestic helpers regular daily wage. This should be paid no later than the regular pay day.

As an employer and a domestic helper, it is important that you keep written and signed records of paid sickness days accumulated and paid sickness days taken, as well as relevant medical certificates and receipts of any sickness allowance payments.

How are sick leave days accrued?

Paid sick leave days accrue at a rate of 2 days per month in the first 12 months of employment, and 4 days per month thereafter. The maximum number of paid sick days that can be accrued by a domestic helper is 120 days.

What should an employer do if a domestic helper has not accrued enough paid sick leave days?

If a domestic helper falls sick and has been provided with a medical certificate approving sick leave, the employer should not force the helper to do any work during the approved sick leave period – irrespective of whether the helper has accrued enough paid sick leave days.

Where a sick domestic helper has not accumulated sufficient paid sick leave days to cover the period of their sick leave, the employer is not required to pay for the sick leave period during which the domestic helper is not working (e.g., the domestic helper is on her home leave). However, employers are advised to be compassionate and consider granting domestic helpers with paid sick leave anyway. 

In addition to this, and according to the requirements in the Standard Employment Contract, employers should provide domestic helpers with free and suitable accommodation during their sick leave. 

Does the employer have to pay for a domestic helper’s medical expenses?

According to the Standard Employment Contract, employers must provide free medical treatment and emergency dental treatment for domestic helpers – irrespective of whether the injuries or sickness are related to work or not. Read more about medical expenses in this article.

Where can I find more information about domestic helper sick leave?

  • Visit the Hong Kong Labour Department FAQ website page
  • Call the Hong Kong Labour Department Hotline for Foreign Domestic Helpers: 2157 9537.
  • Call the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration(OWWA): 3483 0600

Last updated on July 7th, 2023

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