How should I prepare for Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, is a major holiday in Hong Kong. It marks the beginning of the lunar calendar year. There are usually three statutory days off for the holiday and many people take the week off. It is a very important celebration, with many traditional customs and is family-focused.


Observing Traditions

Domestic helpers may not be familiar with all the customs and traditions of Chinese New Year. We suggest employers and domestic helpers spend some time in advance to make sure everyone is on the same page with expectations for the holidays. If the domestic helper is expected to welcome and serve guests, we recommend explaining how things should be done in advance.


Lai-See Packet and Chinese New Year Bonuses

Many employers use this opportunity to show appreciation for their domestic helper. This may be through the popular custom of lai-see gifting, or even choose this time to present their domestic worker with their annual bonus.


If you are considering gifting a lai-see bonus

Bonuses are often used as a way to reward positive work performance. But keep in mind this is not the most effective way to incentivise good performance. Avoid confusion by having performance reviews and/or regular feedback, separate from the bonus.

Some tips from Enrich, a Hong Kong charity that provides financial education to domestic workers:

  • Check with your domestic worker if she has a bank account in Hong Kong. If she doesn’t consider helping her open one – especially if you are planning to give a larger amount.  Read more about opening bank accounts here.
  • Consider encouraging your domestic worker on financial planning and education. More on this here.


Work safety while window cleaning

Spring cleaning is a common occurrence to prepare the household for Chinese New Year. This can include dusting all furniture, washing curtains and carpets, and cleaning windows. A reminder that if employers require domestic helpers to clean the exterior windows they must be located where it is reasonably safe for the helper to do so. The windows being cleaned should be on the ground level, have a balcony adjacent, or the window must be:

  • fitted with a grille which is locked or secured in a manner that prevents the grille from being opened, and
  • no part of the helper’s body extends beyond the window ledge except the arms.

Read more: How can domestic helpers clean windows safely?

Last updated on February 6th, 2024

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Fair Employment Agency is a nonprofit agency. We put a lot of work into producing high quality, accurate and updated information resources because when employers and domestic helpers are informed, they are empowered to make good choices. If you found this article helpful, please consider donating to support us through Fair Employment Foundation, a registered section 88 charity in Hong Kong, which builds social businesses (like us!) to make migrant recruitment fair to workers & fair to employers.

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