What is the Minimum Allowable Wage for Domestic Workers?

For contracts signed after 28th September 2019, the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) is HKD 4,630 per month. It is illegal for domestic workers to be paid less than the MAW. The MAW is normally reviewed in September each year.

Are domestic worker salaries paid in cash or other means?

Domestic workers can be paid by cash, cheque or bank transfer. Bank transfer is the recommended means of transfer as it provides an audit trail for both parties.

Are domestic workers entitled to a food allowance?

Domestic workers must either be provided with free food by their employer, or be provided with a monthly food allowance of a minimum of HKD 1121 per month.

When are domestic workers eligible for severance payment or long service payment?

An employer should pay severance payment to his/her domestic worker if they have been employed continuously for more than 2 years and is dismissed by reason of redundancy. An employer should pay long service payment to his/her domestic worker if they have been employed continuously for not less than 5 years and is dismissed (or his/her contract is not renewed) by reason other than serious misconduct of the FDH or redundancy.

Severance payment and long service payments are calculated as follows:
(monthly wages x 2/3) x reckonable years of services = Long service payment
Example: $4630 x ⅔ = $3086; $3086 x 5 years of service = $15,430



Are domestic workers entitled to rest days?

Domestic workers must be given at least 24 hours continuous rest period every 7 days.

On what day of the week should rest days be given?

While Sundays are most common, rest days can be given on any day of the week (provided they meet the minimum 24-hour entitlement) and should be agreed between employer and domestic worker.

Should rest days be on the same day every week?

Rest days may be given on irregular dates; however, the employer should notify the domestic worker of the dates prior to the start of each new month.

Can rest days be substituted for another date?

Rest days may be substituted, provided it is agreed by both employer and domestic worker.

What is the annual leave entitlement for domestic workers?

Annual leave entitlement is dependent on length of service, as follows:

  • 1 year: 7 days
  • 2 years: 7 days
  • 3 years: 8 days
  • 4 years: 9 days
  • 5 years: 10 days
  • 6 years: 11 days
  • 7 years: 12 days
  • 8 years: 13 days
  • 9 years: 14 days

Are domestic workers entitled to leave on statutory holidays?

Yes, domestic workers are entitled to leave on statutory holidays, regardless of length of service.

Are domestic workers entitled to holiday pay on statutory holidays?

Yes, provided the domestic worker has been employed with the same employer for at least 3 months prior to the holiday.

Which public holidays are considered statutory holidays?

  • The first day of January
  • Lunar New Year’s Day
  • The second day of Lunar New Year
  • The third day of Lunar New Year
  • Ching Ming Festival
  • Labour Day
  • Tuen Ng Festival
  • HKSAR Establishment Day
  • The day following Chinese Mid Autumn Festival
  • Chung Yeung Festival
  • National Day
  • Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (at option of employer)

 

 

On what dates are the statutory holidays in 2020?

  • Wed 1st Jan
  • Sat 25th Jan
  • Mon 27th Jan
  • Tue 28th Jan
  • Sat 4th Apr
  • Fri 1st May
  • Thu 25th Jun
  • Wed 1st Jul
  • Thu 1st Oct
  • Fri 2nd Oct
  • Sun 25th Oct (holiday should be granted on Mon 26th Oct)
  • Mon 21st Dec or Fri 25th Dec (at option of employer)

 

 

My employer has asked me to work on a statutory holiday; is this allowed?

Yes, though the employer must give at least 48 hours’ notice and must grant the domestic worker an alternative holiday with 60 days, before or after the holiday.

Are statutory holidays or rest days falling within my annual leave period deducted from my annual leave allowance?

No, statutory holidays and rest days are not deducted from your annual leave allowance.



Can my employer ask me to work for another person or take up non-domestic duties?

No. It is an offence under the Immigration Ordinance to ask a helper to work for another person other than the employer named on his/her visa or to ask him/ her to perform non-domestic duties.

Can I take up part-time employment with my employer’s consent?

No. You will be liable to prosecution and removal for breaching the conditions of stay.

Can I live away from my employer’s home?

No. You should work and reside in your employer’s residence.

What kind of accommodation should my employer provide?

A domestic worker is allowed to have the reasonable privacy of his/her own. The domestic worker can share a room with children; however, they cannot stay in or share a room with teenagers or adults of the opposite gender. The living space of a room can be partitioned in order to provide a better place.

What should I do if my employer deploys me to work for another person or take up non-domestic duties?

You should report the matter to the Investigation Division of the Immigration Department.

If my employer or another person asks for my passport and Hong Kong ID for safekeeping, is this allowed?

No. Always keep your passport and Hong Kong Identity Card yourself. No other person, including your employer or staff of the employment agency, should keep these documents for you without your consent.



Does my employer have to pay the medical expenses incurred when I am ill or injured?

Yes. When you are ill or injured, your employer shall provide free medical treatment, whether or not it happened during your duty hours, as long as you are under the employment contract. Except when you leave Hong Kong of your own volition for your personal purposes e.g. on home leave.

Under what circumstances am I entitled to sickness allowance?

When the sick leave taken is not less than 4 consecutive days; and the sick leave is supported by an appropriate medical certificate. Paid sick days are counted as 2 paid sickness days for each completed month of your employment during the first 12 months, and 4 paid sickness days for each completed month of employment thereafter e.g. If you have been employed for 2 years, you are entitled to an accumulative 72 days sick leave. Paid sickness days can be accumulated throughout the whole employment period, but shall not exceed 120 days at any one time.

Can my employer terminate my contract if I get sick or injured?

It is unlawful for an employer to dismiss a worker who is on paid sick leave, except in cases of summary dismissal due to the worker’s serious misconduct.

What is the rate of sickness allowance and when should it be paid?

The daily rate of sick leave allowance is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the average daily wages. The Average Daily Wages is calculated as MAW (monthly allowable wages)/number working days in a month, excluding holidays, rest days and leave). Example: $4630/25 days= $185.20. So the sick leave allowance would be calculated as (⅘)x$185.20= $148.16 per day. It should be paid not later than the normal pay day.



Am I entitled to maternity leave?

Yes. You are entitled to 10 weeks of maternity leave if you:

  • have been employed for not less than 40 weeks immediately before the commencement of scheduled maternity leave
  • have given notice of pregnancy and your intention to take maternity leave to your employer after the pregnancy has been confirmed
  • have produced a medical certificate specifying your expected due date, if required by your employer

What is the rate of maternity leave pay and when should it be paid?

The daily rate of maternity leave pay is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the average daily wages of the domestic worker. It should be paid on the normal pay day of the domestic worker.

Can an employer dismiss a pregnant domestic worker?

No. Except in cases of summary dismissal due to the worker’s serious misconduct.

Can an employer dismiss a pregnant domestic worker?

No. Except in cases of summary dismissal due to the worker’s serious misconduct.



Can I terminate the employment contract before it completes?

Yes. Either party may terminate the contract by giving 1 month’s notice in writing or 1 month’s wages in lieu of notice to the other party.

Can I terminate my contract without notice?

Yes, but only under special circumstances:

  • You have reasonable fear of physical danger by violence or disease
  • You are subjected to ill-treatment by your employer
  • You have been employed for not less than 5 years and you are certified by a registered medical practitioner or a registered Chinese medicine practitioner as being permanently unfit for the present job

Can my employer terminate my contract without notice or payment in lieu of notice?

Yes, but only under special circumstances:

  • If you have wilfully disobeyed a lawful and reasonable order
  • Cases of misconduct
  • You are guilty of fraud or dishonesty
  • You have been habitually neglectful in your duties

Upon termination or completion of my contract, what items of payment should my employer give to me?

It depends on a number of factors, such as length of service and reason for termination of contract. Termination payments would usually include:

  • Outstanding wages
  • Payment in lieu of notice (if any)
  • Payment in lieu of any untaken annual leave, and any pro rata annual leave pay for the current leave year
  • Long service payment or severance payment, as applicable
  • Any other sum due in respect of your employment contract, e.g. free return passage and food and travelling allowance


Under what circumstances should my employer pay me severance payment?

If you are dismissed or the contract is not being renewed by reason of redundancy and you have been employed for not less than 24 months with the same employer immediately prior to the termination.

Under what circumstances should my employer pay me for long service?

Your employer should pay long service if you have worked continuously for not less than 5 years, and you:

  • are dismissed or the contract is not renewed for any reason other than summary dismissal due to serious misconduct or redundancy
  • are certified as being permanently unfit for the present job and you resign
  • are aged 65 or above and resign on grounds of old age
  • die in service.

How are severance payment and long service payment calculated?

The following formula applies to the calculation of both severance payment and long service payment :
(Last month wages x 2/3) x reckonable years of service
Example: $4630 x ⅔ = $3086.66; $3086.66 x 5 years of service = $15,433.33



Where can I seek further advice or assistance regarding the employment contract?

You can call the Labour Department’s 24-hour Telephone Enquiry Service at 2717 1771 or 2157 9537, a dedicated hotline for domestic workers.
Immigration Department - 2824 6111

Are there government or non-government organisations that offer free advice regarding disputes with the employment contract for domestic workers?

The Consular Office or Embassy of the country of origin of the domestic worker normally provides free counselling and advice to their citizens (click the links to access their full profile pages and contact information on PANGYAO.HK):

A full list of governmental organisations on our website can be found HERE.

 

There are also several Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Non-profit organisations (NPOs) who can help with disputes regarding details of the contract:

A full list of NGOs on our website can be found HERE.