What should an employer do before the domestic helper arrives?

If you are an employer with a new domestic helper about to join your household, there are some basic steps you can take to make sure that both you and your family are ready for the helper’s arrival.


1) Prepare practical arrangements 

There are a few practical items that you as the employer need to prepare before the helper arrives:

  • Purchase domestic helper insurance: Make sure to purchase a suitable Mandatory Employees’ Compensation Insurance  plan before the helper’s first day. This covers employer liability under the law in the case that the domestic helper falls ill or incurs an injury while working. You can read more about this and compare different plans here.
  • Prepare accommodation: Prepare the helper’s accommodation ahead of their arrival. This includes sleeping arrangements, clothe and food storage, as well as any practical items you plan to provide the helper with (e.g. SIM-card, Octopus card, etc.). Remember to update building management for any potentially required documentation.
  • Create an onboarding plan: Create a clear onboarding plan and structure for the helper’s initial weeks in order to ensure that the helper receives the training needed to be successful in their work. Be mindful in how you plan the onboarding process to avoid it feeling too overwhelming, particularly if this is the helper’s first time to work in Hong Kong. Make sure to also prepare useful onboarding materials such as a manuals, contact lists, and house rules.


2) Prepare your family members

Before the domestic helper arrives it is important that your family knows about the helper joining your household and what this will mean for the different family members. Make sure to set clear expectations in terms of duties, management roles, and routines. Items to cover during this conversation include:

  • Duties and boundaries: Make sure that all family members understand the duties and responsibilities of the helper. It is equally important that they understand what tasks do not fall under the responsibilities of the helper.
  • Management responsibilities: Ensure that there is a clear understanding among family members on who will be the direct manager responsible for giving instructions and providing feedback. Be clear about roles and expectations in order for family members not to provide confusing or conflicting instructions to the helper.
  • Onboarding and training: Ensure that everyone understands what the helper’s first few days and weeks will look like. Share information about the onboarding plan and explain what family members can do to support the domestic helper during this time.
  • Expected changes: Prepare your family for the expected changes in household dynamics and routines. Be particularly mindful of preparing children and elderly family members for any potential changes related to caregiving.
  • Transition expectations: Make sure that everyone in the family understands that transitions take time. Even an experienced domestic helper will need time to learn new skills and get used to your household culture, preferences, and rules.


3) Prepare other domestic helpers, if any

Before the domestic helper arrives it is important that you as the employer brief the other domestic helpers in the household. Make sure to set clear expectations in terms of division of duties and roles. Items to cover during this conversation include:

  • Handover plan: If you are finishing or ending a contract with the current domestic helper, it is important that you determine what the priorities are for the helpers to cover during the handover period. Be clear about the current helper’s responsibilities in carrying out the handover to the new helper.
  • Communicate with co-helpers: If you are employing more than one domestic helper, make sure to clarify division of duties, chain of command, and practical living arrangements.

Last updated on September 6th, 2023

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