Tips for employers on gifts and bonuses

Holidays and special occasions are a great opportunity to show appreciation and a little more. Here are some of our tips on giving gifts and navigating the holidays.



For each employment contract, employers are responsible to cover one round trip from the domestic helper’s place of origin to Hong Kong. Outside of this, employers are not obliged to pay for a domestic helper’s flight. But, many domestic helpers will choose not to go home and choose instead to send money home. Employers can help a domestic helper visit home by gifting flight tickets.


Gifts to send home

Giving gifts is a big part of Filipino culture. Many domestic helpers feel high expectations from family, relatives, and friends for gifts. Employers may contribute some gifts for the domestic helper to send home. These can be simple items like chocolates, lotions, soaps. Make sure to ask what kind of things would be enjoyed!



Many employers decide to give end-of-year or holiday bonuses. Giving the bonus ahead time for Christmas may be useful for domestic helpers planning to buy presents.

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.



Most domestic helpers are unlikely to prioritise self-development opportunities. In Hong Kong, there are classes for everything from calligraphy to coding. Employers can help a domestic helper take advantage of the multitude of classes by gifting one!

Enrich HK is a charity providing financial education to domestic helpers. They suggest that employers can encourage their domestic helper to keep a bank account in Hong Kong. This would help in tracking expenses, saving, and maintaining good money management habits. Employers are able to sponsor their employee for Enrich’s workshops.


Venue to gather with friends

When domestic helpers are unable to spend the holidays with family, social support in Hong Kong is all the more meaningful. Employers can consider booking space at their clubhouse or other venues where the domestic helper can spend time with their friends or hold a holiday party.

For more, read these articles written by Melanie Leung-Shea, Founder of Helpwise:

Last updated on September 19th, 2023

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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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