Helping hands aren’t necessarily hard to come by in Hong Kong. There’s a wealth of options available. But knowing where to start, where to go, and who to ask is crucial in finding the right fit – luckily Little Steps is here to help! This guide can sort you on what documents are required, helper courses, wages, and more. Here is the guide to hiring domestic helpers in Hong Kong.
IN THIS GUIDE:
Note, currently with COVID-19, it is a difficult time for bringing domestic helpers over from the Phillipines. Please check with quarantine rules and regulations.
Helpers are legally hired after a foreign domestic helper visa is approved and both the sponsor and the candidate complete a work contract. Often, one employer can take over another’s contract - this works well if you want to take over the contract of a friend who’s moving away (relocation). For more information on the basics, Facebook groups such as Hong Kong Helpers can help!
Where To Find Domestic Helpers In Hong Kong:
1. Ask for referrals - always the best! Ask your friends and the domestic helpers of friends for references.
2. Facebook Groups - If you are moving or living in a particular village or area of Hong Kong, you can check the local Facebook Groups for available helpers. Here are all the top Facebook groups for families in Hong Kong by area. Hong Kong Helpers is a dedicated Facebook Group for locating helpers in Hong Kong.
3. Online Platforms - These are platforms that help match your needs with a helper. This is a good option if you are looking to field a lot of choices and do your own review process (not a personal or professional endorsement). For example - HelperChoice can put you in direct contact with the helpers without the placement fee. You can also check into HelperPlace and Asia Expat.
3. Agencies - There are literally thousands of agencies in Hong Kong but do be careful as ethics vary agency to agency. Be sure to check into their business practices when using a Domestic Helper Agency. A few to mention are Fair Employment Agency and Arrow.
The process of hiring a domestic helper is relatively easy and stress-free. Note that if the helper was previously employed before, they’ll need to go back to their home country or another country (Macau) before starting a new contract. The only exception is when there is a relocation (meaning the helper you are employing previous worked for a family that is relocating). In this case, they typically do not need to make a visa run and can start soon. Also note, if they have a termination on their record, you might need to organize with an agency for the visa and costs here are much higher (starting at HK$5000 for visa processing as more complicated with a termination).
Key Forms To Fill In When Hiring A Domestic Helper In Hong Kong:
Key Notes When Hiring:
Contract Length Of Time: Foreign helpers can legally only be employed on two-year, full-time live-in contracts.
Who Can Hire A Domestic Helper In Hong Kong: Only residents who hold a Hong Kong Identity Card are able to hire a foreign domestic worker, and you must have a household income of more than HK$15,000 per month.
Legalities And Terminology For Hiring Helpers:
FInished Contract - The 2-year contract is finished, the helper can start as soon as visa is approved. It usually takes 2-6 weeks in full for processing. *Fast And Straight Forward
Terminated (Relocation/Death/Financial Reasons) - The employee was dismissed due to relocation, death, or financial reasons and outside of the helper's hands. This is handled as a finished contract with helper resuming work after new visa processes and can take 2-6 weeks. *Fast And Straight Forward
Terminated (Other Reasons/Break Contract) - Contract ended by either party before the end of contract and the helper must leave Hong Kong before new contract is assigned. This can take 8-12 weeks in full. *Agency Required For Processing (also additional 5-10,000 HKD)
First Time Or Overseas Domestic Helper Hire) - Helper does not live in Hong Kong. It usually takes 8-10 weeks in full. *Agency Required For Processing (also additional 5-10,000 HKD)
Many domestic helpers in Hong Kong that have been in the city for a while choose to process their own paperwork. However, in certain situations, agencies can help you with issuing a work visa, arranging for transportation, and other miscellaneous matters. Helper Choice is an international website that aids in placing helpers; Josie James Personnel specializes in Filipino works, and The Nanny Experts focuses on providing your family with a professional nanny with baby and childcare experience. It’s best to do a bit of research on agencies ahead of time.
Companies / Agencies To Process Paperwork For Domestic Helper Hong Kong:
Helper Choice, www.helperchoice.com
Apart from transportation costs for your helper to come to Hong Kong, you must also cover insurance and medical care, food (Free Food or HK$1,121 per month in lieu of meals), along with accommodation with reasonable privacy. The helper is also entitled to all rest days, statutory holidays, and annual leave. The basic salary of a foreign domestic helper (contracts signed after September 28, 2019) is HK$4,630 per month. Special tip, It is very important that employers and employees keep record of payments made so bank transfer is the preferred choice for both parties. If your helper does not hold a bank account, both should sign a monthly salary receipt and both can keep this record.
Key Requirement Snapshot:
Monthly Domestic Helper Wage Required 2020: HK$4,630
Food Allowance: HK$1,173 per month of free food in home
Weekly Rest Days: Minimum 1 per week (full 24 hours)
Holidays: 12 statutory holidays as well as paid annual leave. Note for paid annual leave, they must be working for minimum of 3-months. A helper is entitled to paid annual leave after having been employed for every 12 months with the same employer. The helper’s entitlement to paid annual leave increases progressively from 7 days to a maximum of 14 days. So, for example - for the first 12 months, a helper is entitled to 7 days. For the second 12 months, they are entitled to 7 days, then after in year 3 - it is 8 days. Also, note a domestic helper is entitled to 7 days to return to their home place of origin when renewing a contract. Whether iit s paid or not - depends on the contract.
Duties: The forms for domestic helpers do not include additional responsibilities such as driving or other work - be sure to check in on this if you require additional forms. Note, they are not allowed to live out of home nor take on part-time work under your visa arrangement.
Insurance: You are required to provide insurance and medical coverage. See below for details.
Visa Processing Costs: You should pay the amounts due for all processing of paperwork related to visa and hiring. Also, if you are hiring from the Philippines, you require to pay for travel costs associated with her relocation.
Government Best Practices And Information From Labour Dept:
Practical Guide For Employment of Domestic Helpers, www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/wcp/FDHguide.pdf
Hiring Foreign Domestic Helper, https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/visas/immigration-entry-guideline.html
As the sponsor, you’re required to provide insurance and medical coverage. The Blue Cross offers a comprehensive plan for employers which run the gamut of basic care at HK$650 monthly to HK$1,130 per month for premium care. Other insurance companies including Prudential and major banks, such as HSBC, Dah Sing and Citibank, run similar packages.
Domestic Helper Insurance Hong Kong:
Blue Cross, www.bluecross.com.hk/en/maidsafe/
AIG HONG KONG, https://www.aig.com.hk/personal/domestic-worker-protection
Ensure that your helper knows how to make delicious, healthy meals (and the grumbling bellies of your partner and hungry tikes) with yummy cooking classes offered all over Hong Kong. For new parents, you should check into The Family Zone which offers an 11-hour Domestic Helper certification program. The course is designed for helpers taking care of babies and children from newborn to 8 years old. Topics will include Effective Communication; Learning through Play; Basic Baby Care; Common Childhood Illnesses; Weaning; Potty Training; Injury Prevention & Home Safety; First Aid, Choking Care & CPR. For domestic helpers looking to learn how to swim, check out Splash Swimming, classes are held on Sundays. Or aid your helper in money management through a workshop at Enrich, here they will be given the right tools on how to save, budget and plan for better financial security. Note, many of the current offerings are on hold due to COVID-19.
Domestic Helper Classes And Courses Hong Kong:
Top Helper Courses Guide By Little Steps, https://www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/family-life/domestic-helpers/helper-courses-hong-kong. Note, many of the current offerings are on hold due to COVID-19.
The Family Zone, 3/F, 12 Crown Terrace, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong, +852 9887 3235, www.thefamilyzone.hk/courses/helpers-child-care-first-aid-cpr
As with all relationships, sometimes things just don’t work out. To terminate a contract, you’ll need to inform the immigration department via the link below within seven days of termination and provide return airfare (or payment in lieu) for your former employee. This can all be done online. By law, foreign domestic workers are able to stay in Hong Kong for two weeks after their contract is terminated.
Terminating/Firing Contracts, www.gov.hk/en/residents/employment/recruitment/terminateforeignhelper.htm
While it’s not allowed to hire a part-time helper who’s moonlighting and sponsored under a full-time contract, there is the option of getting a babysitter or legal part-timer. Rent-A-Mum is a very popular agency for families looking for Western Childcare Specialists. They can assist with professional nannies, maternity services, and babysitting services too! Agencies such as Merry Maids provide part-time legal helpers that are apt at performing a range of cleaning services, as well as childcare and pet-walking duties. The Nanny Experts offer services of trained and experienced nannies to families in Hong Kong from bilingual nannies fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, French, German and more. All their nannies must have an up-to-date CPR certification and hold recognized childcare qualifications or have a minimum of 3 years‘ childcare experience.
Merry Maids, www.merrymaids.com.hk