What are the policies and rights around pregnancy for domestic helpers?
This post is written with the support of Pathfinders, an NGO in Hong Kong providing support and services to pregnant migrant women and their children in Hong Kong. Pathfinders has also developed a booklet on this topic, which is a great resource for employers on what to do if their domestic helper is pregnant:
Pregnancy is natural and something we celebrate. In the situation of domestic helpers, due to the unique working arrangements, there are some points that domestic helpers and their employers need to carefully consider and worked through together.
Good communication between the employer and domestic helper is key to achieving legal, safe, and practical arrangements for both parties during this time. We would encourage employers and domestic helpers to seek the support to navigate the legal and practical needs. If Fair Employment Agency is your agency, please reach out to our Client Care team.
Providing notice about pregnancy
When a domestic helper becomes pregnant, she is required to give notice to the employer about her pregnancy with confirmation from a medical practitioner and by producing a medical certificate with the expected date of confinement (EDC).
Can a domestic helper be dismissed due to pregnancy?
No. Under Hong Kong law, a worker cannot be dismissed from service due to pregnancy. Except in cases of serious misconduct, an employer must not dismiss a domestic helper in the period between the date upon which her pregnancy is confirmed by a medical certificate and the date upon which she is due to return to work at the end of her maternity leave.
Medical examination & pre-natal care
Domestic helpers are entitled to access public healthcare in Hong Kong while within their employment contract. This means that domestic helpers can utilise these services at the same cost as local residents. PathFinders also provide free pre-natal check-up for domestic helpers who are pregnant.
While the employer is obliged to give the domestic helper sick leave with the valid sick leave certificate, the employer is not required to pay for pregnancy-related expenses.
Delivery options in Hong Kong
As domestic helpers can access the public healthcare system, they can have their baby delivered in a public hospital, where delivery fees are generally affordable. Employers are not required to cover pregnancy-related expenses.
A pregnant domestic helper is eligible for 10 weeks of paid maternity leave, provided that:
- She has been employed for at least 40 weeks before the beginning of the maternity leave period, and
- Has given notice to her employer with a medical certificate
The rate of pay during the maternity leave period must be no less than 80% of her regular wages.
A male domestic worker is entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave, provided that:
- he has been employed for at least 40 weeks before the beginning of the paternity leave period
For more information please contact the Labour Department.
Make sure to check out:
Where to find help
If Fair Employment Agency is your agency, please reach out to us with any questions.
- Hotline: 5190 4886. To assist employers and domestic helpers.
- General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Labour Department
You might also like:
- Employment Help and Legal Advice – Contact Information
- Counselling for Domestic Helpers
- Do I have to pay for a domestic helper’s medical expenses?
- Where should I call in an emergency?
- Tips for a Healthy Employer-Employee Relationship
Last updated on April 1st, 2020