Helper's holiday entitlement



POSTED BY buz (6 yrs ago)
Our helper is on her 3rd contract with us. To date she's only taken holiday days as and when she has needed them but never taken her full yearly entitlement. During the first and second contract we offered to send her home but she was never too keen. We also offered to bring her son to Hong Kong for a holiday but again this was declined. During our own family holidays, the helper has had time off, this time off hasn't been taken as per of her own holiday entitlement.

Our 3rd contract was effective from Oct 2011/ending Oct 2013. During the 4 1/2 years with us we have sent her home (flights paid for) on 4 occasions (2 holidays and 2 personnel trips due to family illness/death).

Now here is the issue!

Our helper is informing us that we owe her "X" amount of days and that she now needs to take them all this year. This isn't really workable to myself and my husband due our work commitments. Unfortunately both myself and my husband are unable to get confirmed annual leave for the year. Generally we have to take our holidays at short notice. This is why we have never asked our helper to take our holiday days as part of her own holiday entitlement (in hindsight we should have). Our helper is adding up all the days that she's owed from day 1 working with us.

We now at short notice have decided to go away for a week at the end of April. We have explained to our helper that whilst we are away that she'll need to take annual leave at the same time. Now she is asking if we will book her flight ticket home. She's not happy that we are forcing her to take leave. Surely we are not entitled to pay for another flight?? We last sent her home for 14 days over Christmas. I understand that we're required to pay for a return ticket at the renewal of each contract. I believe we should only offer another flight home at the end of this 3rd contract in 2013.

Additionally if the helper doesn't use up all of her yearly annual leave that she's entitled to. Do the days not taken then get carried forward to the next year and so on?? I can't find anything on the website that confirms this. Can anyone help on this?

Do you ask your helpers to take leave at the same time as your own? If they are not due to go home, do they normally just stay in Hong Kong? I think my helper is expecting us to send her home every time we "make" her take annual leave.

Appreciate any advice. Thanks


Susie1 (6 yrs ago)
Hi Buz,

It explains on pages 12-14 on the labour dept web site,

They are entitled to these holidays per year, plus the statutery holidays for festivals etc.

You are only obliged to pay for air fares to their home country, an inward ticket to HK at the beginning of a contract, a return ticket home when you have renewed her contract to start another, in your case as she is in her 3rd contract with you, you should have paid for 2 return tickets home, then at the end of her 3rd contract you pay her return to home country only ticket, if you weren't renewing, or a return ticket if she is to have a 4th contract with you.

Most helpers stay in Hk while their boss is away in the boss's home, you do not have to send her to her home country every time you have a holiday. Some employers choose to send helpers home while they are away on holiday for two reasons, either they consider the helper can't do much work in their home anyway while the boss is away, and give it an extra holiday to the helper as a bonus, or the helper can't be trusted in the home while they are away.

If you are quite happy your helper won't abuse your trust when you go on annual leave, then she should be allowed to stay in your HK home, and not expect to take the whole time off on leave herself in her home country.

buz (6 yrs ago)
Thanks for your reply Susie1. The one thing that I'm still unclear on is whether or not the holidays roll over or not to the next year if she's not taken her full annual leave entitlement. For example if my helper only took 7 days during the first 2 year contract instead of 14 days. Does the 7 days then roll over to the new contract/year? Is this how it works?

Susie1 (6 yrs ago)
Yes they would 'roll over' , many helpers save the first year 7 days, add it to the 2nd to make a longer holiday towards the end of the second year.

As they stay with you for more contracts, then the number of days entitlement goes up as you will see by the chart on the website I pasted to look at, so you add all these days up for the 5yrs she has worked for you so far (on her 3rd contract), if she is due any statutory holidays she may have not taken these must be added on as well. Deduct any holidays she has already had, and what is left is what she is owed.

beancurd (6 yrs ago)
Yes, always remember that for one contract, she is entitled for 2 weeks vacation leave and return ticket every contract. And as Ms. Susie said, the leave increase after 3 years . Any leave you gave to her, you can deduct it. However, any leave that you offered to her, you must put in writing to deduct from her total vacation leave and you should discuss with her earlier the vacation leave have to be deducted from the total vacation leave that you owe to her in order to avoid unncessary argument. Because the helper also have other plans how to use their leave.

You can discuss the vacation leave and tickets entitled to her in a manner that both of you are happy. Always remember, be calm to discuss this with her as I always believe everything is negotiable.

jordana (5 yrs ago)
hi everybody, our helper has been with us since oct2012, we are going for 2nd 2weeks holiday this year. we offered to pay her plane ticket to phil but she prefers to stay at our home in hk. she is not required to do any work while we are away and she gets paid normal salary. do I still need to give her extra "annual leave" after 1 year? also, if I understand right, I am only obliged to pay her tickets after she finishes the contract with us. thanks in advance for your comments.

FIFIB (5 yrs ago)
Hi jordana,

Discuss this with your helper and reach an agreement. I had the same situation with my helper.

I take 6 weeks holidays in the year 3 1/2 in summer and 3 1/2 in winter, my helper all these years decided to stay in HK because she said she didn't have money.

She only goes back every two years for 2 weeks. Now she tells me I owe her 21 days holidays and she wants me to pay those.

I told her I was not happy about the situation, she stays in my house, doing nothing. I told her to go, she chooses not to go because she didn't have money and why now I have to pay for it?

Anyway otherwise we are happy with her so I will pay her but I alredy told her this is the last time, next she either goes or stays in HK but not on my account.

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