Employers key responsibilities
  • All foreign domestic helpers are required by law to be live-in
  • Two-year contract specifically for the employment of foreign domestic helpers
  • Household income of at least HK$15,000 (US$1,920) per month for each foreign domestic helper employed
  • Free medical treatment for the foreign domestic helper
  • A monthly salary of no less than HK$4,410 at present
  • Provide sufficient food to helper or food allowance in lieu, HK$1,053 per month at present, as of latest announcement on 30 Sep 2017
  • Entitle to 7 days annual leave in the first and second year, starting third years onwards increase 1 day each year (cap 14 days), 1 rest day every week and 12 statutory holiday in a year

For more information, please check labour department.

Helpers – First day on board

Her first day of work is very important to both employer and helper as you set the working requirement on her everyday job. What do you expect her to do daily? I would suggest you to set a house rules and working timetable. But bear in my mind that, it really takes time for her to adapt to your living environment, Hong Kong this modern City and your language. As your helper might originate living in a farm, she might not know how to use a vacuum machine. Be Patient, and give her a few months to learn and gradually, her performance will meet your standard.

Helpers: Indonesian vs Filipino

Should I hire an Indonesian or Filipino domestic helper? Which is better and suitable for your family? It is really depends on what you are looking for. There are good and bad ones regardless where they from.

Indonesian domestic helper – tends to be hardworking and willing to adjust to accommodate the needs of employer, more flexible with their rest arrangement. Ability to speak and understand the local Cantonese language. They are mostly Moslims and do not eat pork.

Filipino domestic helper – tends to be better educated, better English speaking. so they can assist  tutoring kids. They are more adaptable to Hong Kong modern city. They are mostly catholics and go to church every Sunday.

Should we choose local or overseas helper?

Local – face to face interview. Familiar with Hong Kong culture. Have local working experience and you might spend less time to train.

Overseas – more willing to accept changes and follow instruction as they are new to the new environment, they might have worked for families from Taiwan and middle east that required longer working hours and less holiday. Also, the helpers spent significant of money on agency/training center from their home countries, they tend to have more pressure and work harder to secure the new job.

Can I deploy my helpers to perform driving duties?

Yes, but special arrangement is made to allow FDHs to perform driving duties which are incidental to and arising from domestic duties. Bear in mind that the helper holds Hong Kong driver’s license. ID934A form to be filled and submitted to the Director of Immigration for special permission to be granted to the FDH to perform driving duties.

What should I do if my employer pay less than my entitled wages?

If the amount is less than the wages stipulated in the employment contract, you should check with your employer to see if there is any mistake in calculation. Never acknowledge receipt of wages that you were not paid. If there is no satisfactory explanation for the underpayment, you should report the case to the appropriate branch office of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department immediately.

What should I do when my employer pays me wages?

You should check the amount paid to you. If correct, you should acknowledge receipt of the amount on the receipt prepared by your employer.

How should I pay wages to my helper?

You are advised to pay wages by cheque or by autopayment into your helpers bank account. To do this, you have to obtain your helpers consent before hand.If your helper does not prefer such methods of payment, you should pay him/her wages in legal tender.

You are required to keep records of wage payments eg. relevant bank statements. You should also provide a receipt for payment of wages and food allowance and ask your helper to acknowledge receipt of the amount.

Can I agree with my helper to pay lesser amount of wages than that stipulated in the employment contract?

No. All foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, regardless of nationality, should receive at least the minimum allowable wages as stipulated in the employment contract. It is an offence if you pay your helper monthly wages below the minimum.

What are the consequences if an employer fails to pay wages to the helper on time?

If an employer fails to pay wages to the helper within seven days from the due date of payment, he/she is:
– required to pay interest on the outstanding amount of wages to the helper; and
– liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$200,000 and to imprisonment for one year.
If wages are not paid within one month from the due date of payment, the helper may deem he/she has been dismissed by his/her employer without notice. Under such circumstances, the employer is required to pay wages in lieu of notice in addition to other statutory and contractual termination payment to the helper.

Can an employer deduct the helpers wages to compensate for damages to goods caused by him/her? What other items may an employer deduct from the helpers wages?

An employer can make deduction for damage or loss to the employers goods or property directly attributable to the helpers negligence or default. In any one case, the sum to be deducted shall be the cost of the damaged item, subject to a limit of HK$300. The total of such deductions shall not exceed one quarter of the wages payable to the helper in that wage period.

How many days food and travelling allowance is payable to my helper under the employment contract?

It depends on the journey time between Hong Kong and your helpers place of origin provided that he/she travels by the most direct route. In general, if your helper is from an Asian country, one to two days food and travelling allowance should suffice. Usually $100 each day.

What kind of air-ticket should I provide for my helper upon expiry or termination of contract? Should it be open-date or fixed-date?

This is not specified in the employment contract. Both parties may agree on an open-date or fixed-date ticket. However, you may wish to provide an open-date ticket in case your helper is unable to use ta fixed-date ticket due to unforeseen circumstances

Is my employer responsible for paying my passage back to my place of origin upon termination or expiry of the contract?

Yes. Upon termination or expiry of the contract, your employer should provide free passage, usually an air ticket covering airport tax for you to return to your place of origin, and a daily food and travelling allowance.

How are severance payment and long service payment calculated?

The following formula applies to the calculation of both severance payment and long service payment:

[(Monthly wages 2/3 ) reckonable years of services ]
Service of incomplete year should be calculated on a pro rata basis.

Would a helper be entitled to severance payment and long service payment simultaneously?

No. A helper will not be simultaneously entitled to both long service payment and severance payment. A helper dismissed by reason of redundancy is entitled to severance payment but not long service payment.

Under what circumstances should an employer pay long service payment to a helper?

An employer should pay long service payment to the helper if he/she has worked continuously for not less than five years, and:

  1. is dismissed or the fixed term contract is not being renewed* by reason of redundancy; and
  2. is certified by a registered medical practitioner as permanently unfit for the present job and he/she resigns.
  3. is aged 65 or above and he/she resigns; or
  4. dies in service.
What should I do if my employer dismisses me without giving me notice or payment in lieu?

You should notify the Extension Section of the Immigration Department if you consider that the contract has been unilaterally terminated by the other party.

If you consider that the other party is not entitled to terminate the contract without notice and you wish to claim wages in lieu of notice, you should approach the appropriate branch office of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department without delay. This Division will help you settle your claim by conciliation

Can an employer or a helper terminate the employment contract before it expires?
  1. You should clear all outstanding wages and other sums due to your employer, preferably by payment through the bank, and obtain a receipt for all payments.
  2. You are required to notify the Extension Section of the Immigration Department in writing of the termination within seven days of he date of termination. It is not necessary to inform the Labour Department.
Upon termination or expiry of the contract, what items of payment should I pay to my helper?
  1. You should clear all outstanding wages and other sums due to your helper, preferabley by payment through the bank, and obtain a receipt for all payments.
  2. You are required to notify the Extension Section of the Immigration Department in writing of the termination within seven days of he date of termination. It is not necessary to inform the Labour Department.
Can I ask my helper to work for another person or take up non-domestic duties?

No. It is an offence under the Immigration Ordinance to ask your helper to work for another person other than the employer named in his/her visa or to ask him/her to perform non- domestic duties. Employers found to have breached the Immigration Ordinance may face prosecution.

Can I concurrently enter into another employment contract with my helper?

No. The standard employment contract (ID407) is the only official employment contract for all foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Any other employment contract entered between the employer and the helper is not enforceable in Hong Kong.

Upon my helpers arrival to commence work, what should i do ?
  1. pay your helper the daily food and traveling allowance, of the amount specified in the employment contract, for his/her journey to Hong Kong. You should also reimburse him/her the cost of preparing all necessary documents.
  2. to explain to your helper the duties you expect him/her to perform. Such duties must be domestic duties as specified in the “Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Duties”* of the employment contract.
  3. fix a date on which you will pay wages to your helper.
  4. appoint rest days for your helper.
  5. agree with your helper whether food will be provided during employment. If it is provided, it must be free of charge. If no food is provided, a food allowance of the amount specified in the employment contract should be given to the helper each month.
  6. take out employees compensation insurance against your liabilities for your helpers injuries at work. This is a requirement under the Employees Compensation Ordinance. Failure to do so is an offence in law, punishable by a fine and imprisonment.
Can I live away from my employers home?

The domestic helper should work and reside in your employer’s residence in accordance with Clause 3 of the standard employment contract. Your employer is required to provide you with free accommodation as per the standard specified in the “Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Duties” of the employment contract.

Can I take up part-time employment with my employers consent?

No. It is an offence under the Immigration Ordinance for you to take up any employment with any person other than your employer named in your visa. You will be liable to prosecution and removal for breaching the conditions of stay. If you are so removed you will not normally be allowed to come to Hong Kong again to work as a helper.

What is the requirement of Employer to hire domestic helper
  • A copy of your Hong Kong identity card. If you are not a Hong Kong permanent resident, please make a copy of your travel document showing your personal particulars and the latest Hong Kong immigration stamp/visa.
  • Evidence showing that you are financially capable of employing a foreign domestic helper. Normally, the salary paid to the helper should not exceed one fourth of your family income. Examples of such evidence are as follows:
    1. Latest notice of assessment and demand for tax issued by the Inland Revenue Department OR
    2. Bank passbook/statement showing auto-payment of your monthly salary not less than HK$15,000 for the last 3 months OR
    3. Bank passbook/statement showing auto-payment of your annual income not less than HK$180,000 OR
    4. Salary statement/slips issued by your company OR
    5. 3 months bank fixed deposit of at least HK$360,000 (If you are going to hire 2 helpers, your annual income should not be less than HK$180,000 x 2 or your fixed deposit should not be less than HK$360,000 x 2)
  • Original and copy of documentary proof (for the last 3 months) of your residential address as reported in the employment contract, such as water/gas/home telephone/demand for rates/electricity/TV bills. (Mobile phone bill is not accepted.) The original document will be returned to you through the applicant.
  • Current/last foreign domestic helper(s)’s name and Hong Kong identity card number/date of termination of contract/limitation of stay in Hong Kong.