This article introduces some points to note for employment of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong.
Who are Eligible to Hire?
To hire a foreign domestic helper, you need to be a Hong Kong resident with a monthly household income of no less than HK$15,000 or assets of comparable amount to support the expenses for the entire (i.e. two-year) contractual period.
Where to Look for Foreign Domestic Helpers?
You can recruit a foreign domestic helper through an agency or directly via personal ads or referrals. Under all circumstances, you must enter into a Standard Employment Contract as specified by the Director of Immigration and apply to the Immigration Department for an employment visa for the helper.
- Standard Employment Contract for FDHshttp://www.immd.gov.hk/en/forms/forms/id407_detail.html
- Entry visa for FDHshttp://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/immigration-entry-guideline.html#employment_foreign_domestic_helpers
How Much Will it Cost?
You should pay a foreign domestic helper a salary that is no less than the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) announced by the Government and prevailing at the date of signing the employment contract for employing the foreign domestic helper. The MAW is currently set at HK$4,010 per month.
Under the Standard Employment Contract, you must provide the helper with suitable accommodation and with reasonable privacy, free food (or food allowance in lieu, which is HK$920 per month at present) and free passage from the helper’s home country to Hong Kong and return to the home country on termination or expiry of the contract. The above levels of the MAW and food allowance are applicable to all contracts signed on or after 1 October 2013.
As stipulated in the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282), an employer must take out insurance policy to cover his/her liability both under the Ordinance and at common law for injury at work in respect of an employee. In addition, you are required to provide the helper with free medical treatment under the Standard Employment Contract when he/she is ill or suffers personal injury during the period of employment. You are therefore strongly advised to take out an insurance policy with full medical and hospitalization coverage for the helper. You may also consider taking out a comprehensive insurance policy which provides medical and hospitalization coverage and satisfies the requirement under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance at the same time.
More details of the employment of foreign domestic helpers and the employment terms can be found in the Guidebook for the Employment of Domestic Helpers from Abroad and other documents.
- Guidebook for the Employment of Domestic Helpers from Abroadhttp://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/employ-domestic-helpers-from-abroad/guidebook.html
- Reporting domestic helpers' income for taxationhttp://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/faq/esem_er.htm#a2
Scope of Duties
A foreign domestic helper should only perform domestic duties for the employer's residence specified in the contract. The employer should not require or allow the helper to carry out any work for any other person, otherwise, the helper and/or any aider and abettor will be liable to criminal prosecution. For more details you can refer to the links below.
- FAQs about FDHshttp://www.immd.gov.hk/en/faq/foreign-domestic-helpers.html
- Special permission for performance of motor driving duties by FDHhttp://www.immd.gov.hk/en/forms/forms/id934a.html
Statutory Obligations of Employers
Since foreign domestic helpers perform duties for households and have close relationship with the employer and his/her family, it is important to have mutual respect and understanding between the employer and the helper at all times in order to help maintain an amicable employment relationship. As an employer, you must also observe the statutory obligations under the Hong Kong laws.
In Hong Kong, foreign domestic helpers are entitled to the same benefits and protection under the labour laws as their local counterparts. Answers to some frequently asked questions about major labour legislation and useful information are available at the following links.
- FAQs about labour legislationhttp://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/faq/content.htm
- Points to note for employers on the employment of foreign domestic helpers (pdf file)http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/wcp/PointToNotesForEmployersOnEmployment(FDH).pdf
Race Discrimination Ordinance
You can refer to the link below for good practices in response to the application of the Race Discrimination Ordinance in hiring foreign domestic helpers.
- A guide for FDH and their employers by the Equal Opportunities Commissionhttp://www.eoc.org.hk/EOC/GraphicsFolder/showcontent.aspx?content=A%20Guide%20for%20Foreign%20Domestic%20Helpers%20and%20their%20Employers
Terminating the Contract
If you decide to terminate the employment contract of your foreign domestic helper, you should notify the Immigration Department in writing within seven days of the date of termination. You can now do it online. Click the link below for details.
- Online notification of premature termination of employment contracts of FDHshttp://www.gov.hk/en/residents/employment/recruitment/terminateforeignhelper.htm
Last review date: September 2013