3 housing considerations when you employ a domestic helper

Having your first baby? Thinking of hiring a helper?

In Hong Kong, it’s commonplace for professionals to have domestic helpers, especially when they have children. But, before you hire a helper, there are housing conditions you need to be aware of so you won’t end up breaking the law.

Make sure you read these 3 housing considerations before you decide to employ a foreign domestic helper.

Employers must provide housing for their helpers

When it comes to housing arrangements, employers are legally responsible for providing a safe and habitable residence for their helper. What’s more is, your helper needs to be living with you, in the residential property listed in her employment contract.

Many years ago, helpers could live outside of their employer’s home. But in 2003, the Hong Kong Laws changed. If a helper has been with the same employer before 2003, they can continue to live out of their employer’s home, under the condition that the employer declares this to the immigration whenever they renew their helper’s contract.

Otherwise, all helpers are not allowed to live outside of their employer’s home – this is illegal and can potentially land you in hot water.

Hiring a part-time foreign domestic worker is illegal

Don’t have an extra room to hire a full-time helper? You might hear about part-time domestic helpers who work once or twice a week to help tidy up flats. This is especially convenient when you don’t have the need for full-time help or you simply don’t have space to hire a helper.

Hiring part-time foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong is illegal.

If caught, the employer and helper will face legal charges and jail time. You may not suffer the same fate but you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation if you must provide a statement to authorities. So, while your friends or colleagues may hire part-time helpers, consider the risk in doing the same.

If you’re unable to hire full-time help but require house keeping services, consider local house keeping companies like Smart Home instead.

Helpers are not allowed to live with or work for anyone else

Allowing your domestic helper to work for extra money may seem like a good idea. But, unfortunately, this is illegal – even if you allow them to work for your extended family members.

A helper’s place of work is indicated in their employment contract so any work outside of the given address is illegal.

This also means it’s illegal to ask your helper to tidy up your office or live with your other family members when you are out of town.

Conclusion

Before hiring a foreign domestic helper, make sure your flat has space for another person to live in. If you’re not fussed, your helper can perhaps share a room with your new baby or kids. Otherwise, consider looking for a new flat with adequate space for everyone to live in. (e.g. Maid’s quarter)

Don’t be tempted to hire part-time foreign domestic workers to avoid legal troubles and finally, do not allow your helper to work in your office, for your friends or extended family.

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