Are employers required to pay a domestic helper’s salary while they are unable to return to work?
There is no black-and-white answer under the Standard Employment Contract (SEC). The Hong Kong Labour Department and the Philippine Overseas Labour Office advises employers and domestic helpers to have open communication and come to a mutual agreement on paid or unpaid leave.
Both employers and domestic helpers are now in a situation where neither parties had control over. Coming to a solution that works for both parties is important for maintaining a successful working relationship. We find that situations like this can be a good opportunity for building trust and cultivating work satisfaction in the future.
We also recommend having a written agreement on the terms for this situation, outlining the agreement as Whatsapp conversation text records and/or photos of signed agreements from each side.
- Know who to contact if you have any questions. We recommend contacting the Labour Department, Immigration Department or the Philippine Overseas Labour Office for their guidance on the legal entitlements and responsibilities.
- Hong Kong Labour Department Hotline for Foreign Domestic Helpers: 2157 9537.
- Hong Kong Immigration Department, Foreign Domestic Helper’s Section: 2111 8435
- Philippine Overseas Labour Office: 5529 1880
- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration: 3483 0600 Emergency Hotline: 6345 9324
Reach out to your agency for support
The coronavirus situation has added new challenges to working relationships between employers and domestic helpers. Your agency may be able to provide you guidance and support at this time. At Fair Employment Agency, we have our dedicated Client Care team to support our employers and workers. Please do reach out to us if Fair Employment Agency is your agency.
If you need additional support on how to manage your helper during this unique time, Helpwise offers practical and personalized advice for employers. Reach out to Helpwise to book a phone consultation that could guide you to solutions that work for your household. HERE
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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 through Fair Employment Foundation (tax-deductable for amounts over HK$100). Click HERE for donation instructions.
Last updated on July 21st, 2020