Second Person Perspective Diary Entries
These diary entries depict a fictional story of a domestic helper not being granted her domestic holidays. Domestic holidays are an entitlement to all domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Despite what this story re-enacts, please do speak up if you find that your rights are being violated in any way.
Tuesday 1st May ; 6:00 am
You’ve settled into your new employer’s home and are aware that you have a week off + public holidays + annual leave. Everything has occurred smoothly so far – but there’s a catch. Today, your employer decides to inform you that it is not a domestic holiday, therefore restricting you from having your day off. You are hesitant as you know today has fallen on Labour Day, and you vaguely realize you surely are entitled to a day off. But you do not want to initiate otherwise. To prevent disputes between your employer, you decide to keep quiet.
Tuesday 1st May ; 12:00 pm
It’s merely noon, and you are already fatigued from working. It has been an elongated morning of dishwashing, child pampering, more child pampering, dog walking, cat feeding, employer complaining, and more dishwashing.
“-Bleep” “-Bleep” Your phone rings. You receive messages from your friends:
You contemplate informing your employer on your domestic holiday. You are entitled to go out. Then again, she probably isn’t aware of the rules. Too risky. Far too risky. You’ve only been here for a month, you decide that it’s too early to ask for favors. But then again, your friend has been with her employer for two weeks, and she went out this Labour Day. Sigh, guess you’ll have to wait a bit longer. You put down your phone, demoralized. You continue to work.
Tuesday 1st May ; 6:00 pm
You decide to take a short, abrupt break after 12 continuous hours of working with minimal amounts of food, you deserve it. “-Bleep” Another message coming in from your friends.
Last seen 3 hours ago
You are halfway through your reply, your employer walks in and pauses at your door.
You were not aware of that movement until she shouted: “First you inappropriately ask to go on holiday on a working day, now you’re slacking off?!”
She snatches your phone and decides to confiscate it. You make an attempt at defending yourself, “Ma’am, I am very sorry, but I am supposed to go on holiday today, it’s Labour Day.”
She swiftly replies with instructive authority, “You are only allowed to go on holiday when I say so.” and instructs you to feed the children – they are getting cranky.
Tuesday 1st May ; 12:00 am
Done for the day, let’s hope you are granted the permission for the holiday on the 18th of June. You lie in your stiff, cardboard textural mattress and stare longingly at the ceiling, “Did I truly make the right decision?”
If you ever find yourself entrenched in a situation like such, inform your employer on the official domestic holidays in Hong Kong, listed below. You are entitled to 12 days of statutory leave for 24 complete hours each day.
Official Statutory Holidays in Hong Kong
- The first day of January – 1 Jan
- Lunar New Year’s Day – 16 Feb
- The second day of Lunar New Year – 17 Feb
- The fourth day of Lunar New Year – 19 Feb
- Ching Ming Festival – 5 Apr
- Labour Day – 1 May
- Tuen Ng Festival – 18 June
- Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day – 1 Jul
- The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival – 25 Sep
- National Day – 1 Oct
- Chung Yeung Festival – 17 Oct
- Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day – 22 Dec / 25 Dec
The official specified Labour Department instructions for holidays can be found by clicking this given link. Show your employer this article if indulged in hesitance.
Similarly, alternative links provided below show instructions and given days for domestic holidays:
If disputes do occur, contact an employment agency. WEcarehelpers can act as a mediator between you and your employer. Visit our office at Room 2805, Hong Kong Plaza, 188 Connaught Road West Central, Sai Wan, we are available for walk-in helper counseling and can possibly help you find a more suitable employer under a restricted, specified time frame.
Writer – Chloe Jazzy Lau (2018)
WEcarehelpers is a professional domestic helper agency in Hong Kong. We seek to build a suitable working environment for domestic helpers and allow sufficient help towards employers. Call or Whatsapp 54077468 or 60861984 for further inquiries.