Useful Info

The below information only highlights the statutory and contractual provisions employers and helpers are commonly concerned. For details, please refer to the "Practical Guide for Employment of Foreign Domestic Helpers" or "A Concise Guide to the Employment Ordinance" published by the Labour Department (www.labour.gov.hk).

Things to know
  • You should keep the receipt for all relevant expenses incurred in preparation of document to facilitate reimbursement of costs of documentation.

  • You are advised to ask your employer to explain your duties and get a clear idea of what your employer expects of you. You shall perform domestic duties as specified in the “Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Duties“ in standard employment contract of your employment contract.

  • You 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.

  • You should not take up any part time job. 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.

  • If the wage your employer pays 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.

Employer requirements for hiring

Employers who wish to employ Helpers have to satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The employer is a HKID card holder.

  2. The employer is financially capable of employing a Helper. For every Helper to be employed, the employer must have a combined household income of no less than HK$15,000 per month or assets of comparable amount for the whole contractual period.

    Examples of such evidence (for every helper to be employed) are as follows:

    • Latest notice of assessment and demand for tax issued by the Inland Revenue Department OR
    • Bank passbook/statement showing auto-payment of your monthly salary not less than HK$15,000 for the last 3 months OR
    • Bank passbook/statement showing auto-payment of your annual income not less than HK$180,000 OR
    • Salary statement/slips issued by your company OR
    • 3 months bank fixed deposit of at least HK$360,000
  3. The employer shall enter into a standard Employment Contract (ID 407) with the helper as required by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong.

  4. The Helper shall only be required to perform domestic duties for the person she signed contract with.

  5. The employer undertakes to pay the Helper a salary that is no less than the minimum allowable wage. (The minimum allowable wage is HKD4,520 effective 1 Oct 2018)

  6. The Employer shall provide the helper a suitable accommodation with reasonable privacy in the employer's residence.

  7. The employer shall provide the helper with free food or a food allowance. For standard employment contracts signed on or after 1 October 2018, the applicable food allowance shall be not less than HK$1075 per month.

  8. The employer shall provide free medical treatment to the helper. Also, the employer shall take out employees’ compensation insurance against their liabilities for helper’s injuries at work as required by the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance.

  9. The Employer shall not have any adverse record in respect to the employment of a domestic helper.

What kinds of leave are helpers entitled to under the Employment Ordinance?

Under the Employment Ordinance, helpers are entitled to the following leave:

  • Rest days
  • Statutory holidays
  • Paid annual leave

If both parties renew the contract, the helper shall, before the new contract commences, return to her country of origin at the expense of the employer for a vacation of not less than 7 days according to the standard employment contract.

Leave pay and whether leave has been granted is a common cause of dispute between an employer and a helper. Leave and payment records should be kept properly to avoid future disputes.

How long should a helper work before he/she can enjoy the statutory holidays in a year?

All foreign domestic helpers, irrespective of their length of services, are entitled to the following 12 statutory holidays in a year -

  • The first day of January
  • Lunar New Years Day
  • The second day of Lunar New Year
  • The third day of Lunar New Year
  • Ching Ming Festival
  • The first day of May
  • Tuen Ng Festival
  • The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Chung Yeung Festival
  • Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (at the option of the employer)
  • The first day of July
  • The first day of October

If the helper has worked continuously for the employer for three months preceding any of these holidays, he/she is entitled to the holiday pay.

Can I require my helper to work on statutory holidays?

Yes, but you have to give him/her:

  • not less than 48 hours prior notice ; AND
  • an alternative holiday within 60 days before or after the statutory holidays.
Can I ask my helper to forfeit a statutory holiday in exchange for extra wages with her consent?

NO. You must not make any form of payment to your helper in lieu of granting statutory holiday. An employer who contravenes this provision is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$50,000.

If a statutory holiday falls on my helpers rest day, is it obligatory for me to grant her another holiday?

YES. If statutory holiday falls on a rest day, a holiday should be granted on the day following the rest day which is not a statutory holiday.

How should I appoint rest day to my helper?

There should be at least one rest day (a continuous period of not less than 24 hours) in every period of seven days. Rest days may be appointed by the employer on a regular or an irregular basis. Unless the rest days are on a regular basis, employer should notify the helper her rest days before the beginning of each month.

Can I ask my helper to work on her rest day?

NO. Except in unforeseen emergency, you shall not require your helper to work on his/her rest day. An employer who forces the helper to work on a rest day is in breach of the Employment Ordinance. Employer may however, with the consent of your helper, substitute some other day for the appointed rest day given that the substituted rest day is within the same month before the original rest day or within 30 days after it. Nevertheless, helper may choose to work voluntarily on her rest days.

How many days of annual leave should be given to a helper in a year?

A helper is entitled to paid annual leave after serving every period of 12 moths with the same employer. The helpers entitlement to paid annual leave will increase progressively from seven days to a maximum of 14 days according to the length of service as follows:

Years of service Days of Paid Annual Leave entitled
1 7
2 7
3 8
4 9
5 10
6 11
7 12
8 13
9 & above 14
Who determines the timing of annual leave taken by a helper?

A helper shall take the paid annual leave entitled within the following 12 months at a time appointed by the employer after consultation with the helper, confirmed by a written notice to the helper at least 14 days in advance.

Should annual leave include rest days and statutory holidays?

NO. Another rest day or holiday must be appointed if any rest day or statutory holiday falls within the period of annual leave.

Should vacation leave be granted in addition to annual leave?

Vacation leave of not less than 7 days should be granted in addition to the annual leave. However, whether this vacation leave shall be paid or unpaid would depend on the term agreed in the standard employment contract.

Can an employer force the helper to take no pay leave?

The arrangement of taking no pay leave shall be of mutual consent to both parties. The employer shall not unilaterally impose such leave on his/her helper.

How should employer grant annual leave to helper on completion or termination of employment contract?

When the employment contract is terminated, your helper should be given payment in lieu of any annual leave not yet taken in respect of every 12 months completed service. For more that three but less than 12 months services in every period of 12 months, your helper is entitled to pro-rata annual leave pay if the employment contract is terminated other than for the reason of summary dismissal due to his/her serious misconduct.

For Example, If your helper resigned or was dismissed after serving 18 months of services and she had not yet taken any annual leave ( i.e. entitle to 7 days), she should be given payment in lieu of annual leave for the first 12 completed months of service, plus the pro rata sum in lieu of annual leave pay calculated to the days of employment ( i.e. 7 days + 3.5 days = 10.5 days ).

Months of service (e.g. 18 months) Payment in lieu of annual leave
First 12 months 7 days
6 months 3.5 days

However, if your helper is summarily dismissed due to his/her serious misconduct after serving 18 months, he/she would only be entitled to payment in lieu of annual leave for his/her first 12 months of service, i.e. 7 days.

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

An employer should pay severance payment to the helper if she:

  • is dismissed or the fixed term contract is not being renewed by reason of redundancy; and

  • has not less than 24 months of service with the same employer immediately prior to the termination.

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

An employer should pay long service payment to the helper if she has worked continuously for not less than 5 years, and:

  • is dismissed or the fixed term contract is not being renewed by reason of redundancy; and

  • is certified by a registered medical practitioner as permanently unfit for the present job and he/she resigns.

  • is aged 65 or above and he/she resigns; or

  • dies in service.

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.

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 x 2/3 x reckonable years of services ] 
Service of incomplete year should be calculated on a pro rata basis.