Quick guide for Employers of Domestic Helpers
Hiring and managing a domestic helper can be a very daunting process. We launched the ‘Get Answers’ portal to equip employers and domestic helpers with balanced and credible information as they navigate this whole process and working situation.
For employers who are new to hiring a domestic helper, this is the place to start. We answer questions that have to do generally about hiring a domestic helper. This is a unique employment situation and it helps to have all the information upfront.
The Recruitment System
For too long, there have been employment agencies who have made money from doing a bad job. Employers are charged for bad customer service, while agencies secretly charge domestic helpers too. This illegal practice leaves domestic helpers in debt and it fails employers. Equipped with the right information, employers can ensure that they are hiring domestic helpers fairly and avoid scrupulous agencies.
- How can I hire domestic helpers fairly?
- Am I eligible to hire a domestic helper To hire a domestic helper you only need to meet two requirements.
- Can domestic helpers live out?
- How much does it cost a hire a domestic helper? There are a number of costs involved in hiring a domestic helper. Keep in mind that every case is different and there may be unexpected costs not listed out here.
- Do I need to use an employment agency? As a general rule, employers are required to use an agency in order to process their domestic helper’s employment visa. There are, however, cases where you do not need to use an agency, this depends only on the current contract status of the domestic helper.
- How should I choose an employment agency? Choosing the right agency is crucial. If you choose an employment agency that is incompetent or unethical, it not only wastes your money, but also your time.
- How long does processing a domestic helper visa take? You should be wary of domestic helper agencies promising unusually fast processing timelines. Agencies have very little control over the processing time, as a large portion of the visa application process is spent at the HK Immigration Department.
- How can I report or check the license of an employment agency?
When you’re ready to start hiring, first determine your needs to guide what you should look for in a prospective employee. Understand the guidelines for salaries and food allowance.
HIRING A DOMESTIC HELPER
Before you hire a domestic helper, if you are clear about what you want, you’ll have a much better chance of success. Start by determining and prioritising one or two skills or characteristics that are most important to you and your family. We strongly recommend that you: “hire for attitude, train for skills.” Attitude is the most important thing to look for when hiring.
- How should I begin the hiring process of a domestic helper?
- What are the permitted work activities under a domestic work visa?
- How should I structure a domestic helper interview?
- What do I need to know about hiring a second/ co-worker helper?
- What do I need to know about hiring a driver?
- Should I consider hiring a domestic helper who has taken out a loan or is in debt?
More detailed information
- Do you recommend any training centres in the Philippines?
- What is the Medical Certificate and why are domestic helpers required to get it?
MANAGING A DOMESTIC HELPER
Many employers focus a lot of time in finding the right person. We see a greater chance at long-term success when domestic helpers are given the opportunity to develop the right skills with the help of their employer’s management.
When you enter an employment contract with your domestic helper, you are not only the employer but also the manager. Management is never an easy job, not to mention the dynamic and unique working relationship in domestic helper context with cultural and language differences.
Ensure you understand Hong Kong domestic helper entitlements and your responsibilities as an employer. Here’s a quick list:
Quick Legal Tips
- Remember the rest day is 24 consecutive hours
- Ensure that your domestic helper is receiving enough food
- Ask for assistance with maternity/health questions
- Get employee compensation insurance for your domestic helper
Quick Management Tips
- Articulate clearly your expectations (preferably in writing) including task schedules and interaction with your family (including child discipline)
- Expect a transition period for your employee (even an experienced domestic helper) to learn new skills and acclimatise to your household
- Grant all 13 annual statutory holidays. Payment in lieu of holiday is not allowed by law.
- The domestic helper should only work at the contractual address.
- Employers are responsible for all medical costs of a domestic helper during the time of employment.
- Purchase the mandatory Employees’ Compensation Insurance. There are many options for domestic helper insurance. Compare domestic helper insurance policies between companies in order to find the policy which best fits your needs and budget.
- Food allowance or Food sharing?
When your domestic helper arrives
- Tips for a Healthy Employer-Employee Relationship
- What should a domestic helper’s schedule look like?
- What are the things I should notify my employment agency about?
- What is the best bank account for domestic helpers?
- Tips and resources on financial management for domestic helpers
- Tips for employers on gifts and bonuses
- What document should a domestic helper prepare for holiday travel?
- Can a domestic helper travel with their employer?
Resources for Training
- A Guide for Expectant Parents: Uplifters x Holly Wong Yoga x Fair Agency
- Are there any cooking classes for domestic helpers?
- Which organisations provide courses for domestic helpers?
On parting ways
Whether you are finishing up the contract period or terminating a contract early, here are some things to keep in mind when parting ways:
- Key points to consider on termination of contract
- What are the things I should notify my employment agency about?
- Who pays for a domestic helper’s flights to go home?
We have many more articles on the Get Answers section of our website. We are continually updating it, so please check back often!
- Employment Help and Legal Advice
- Consular Office Contacts
- Useful contacts for Hong Kong Government Departments
- HelperPlace News– HelperPlace shares updates and advice on hiring domestic helpers
- Helpwise – Fresh ideas on management of domestic helpers
- Ask Mel – Helpwise co-founder Mel shares her expertise on Sassy Mama Hong Kong
- CLIC Family Resource – Focuses on issues specifically applicable to the employment of domestic helpers
- Where can I find help?
Fair Employment Agency is a non-profit employment agency placing Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Read Our Story or find information on our services at View Pricing. With thousands of placements under our belt and 90% of employers and domestic helpers recommending us to friends, you’re in good hands!
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 and fair to employers. For all donation methods: Click HERE.
Last updated on March 7th, 2023