house rules for helper



POSTED BY Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)

Its my first time to get a DH am trying to come up with a house rule list. I have read one that was written by her ex employer(chinese) and to me some were abit on the extreme. Can anyone shed a light on this please? she is new from the philipines and only worked for less than 1yr and had to terminate due to"was unable to control 10dogs) from her employer release letter."


kopfan888 (11 yrs ago)
Just use common sense and put down rules which are of course reasonable and fair.

Locals tend to be a lot stricter than expats etc so yes some rules would be extreme.

Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)
Thanks Green, This list has given me an idea since its my first time to employ a DH in Hk. I have alway done things on my own,I think I need a short break from house work and take care of my self too.

Will write the list asapo.

Thanks for the advice

maz27 (11 yrs ago)
"Mrs Miggins" on this site put together some fantastic house rules which she emailed to me and I used when I hired my helper. They were brilliant and I've never had cause to complain about ANYTHING. If you would like to see a copy send me a PM with your email account and I will forward you a copy.

Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)
Hi maz27 my email is

tryd to send the pm but was unable

plz use this one for now.


maz27 (11 yrs ago)
I have sent you the DH rules via your email account

crj (11 yrs ago)
Maz27 - snt you a PM with my email too - thanks!

Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)
Thanks Maz27 I got the rules will have a look and get mine from them.

And Cri,thanks I wait for your advice.


crj (11 yrs ago)
This is a good thread:

I am in the process of redoing our 'rules' before the new helper starts... will let you know when finished. I am sure they will be over the top at first, but trying to cover everything!

crj (11 yrs ago)
This is just the first part of my list, it goes in to another page in detail about food, then a detailed daily schedule (only important if you have a baby I think) and a weekly/monthly cleaning schedule that is in a chart format.

Before we had babies, a lot more cleaning was done! Ie, the sheets and towels were washed at least twice a week, the flat was dusted more regularly, etc... But I reduced the cleaning schedule to make it more realistic considering the changes in our household. I have also stopped having eh sheets ironed (much to the dismay of my spoilt husband!) Of course on many weeks the towels do get washed more often, etc... but at least this way everything is scheduled to happen at a minimum frequency that is actually practical.

Domestic Helper Guidelines


1. From 6:00 am – 9:00 pm

2. Saturdays – Same, except sometimes we will take Baby out in the afternoon.

3. Sundays- the first 4 months with the new baby, we would like ½ day of help on Sundays. It is up to the two of you how you share this.

4. You will use the back door except when with baby, then the front door. All doors must be locked at all times.

5. Windows must be closed by 5:00 pm to prevent mosquitoes from entering the flat.

6. We don’t want you to have any parties or have friends over when we are away. If you want to do something special with friends, please ask us first and we will consider

7. If you are going to stay out overnight, please tell us in advance and be sure the bolts are locked on the back door and you use the front door instead.

8. No use of home phone or computer.

9. Mobile phone not to be used during working hours or when with the babies.

10. Washing Machine only to be used for your clothing, not your friends.

11. No loaning, lending or borrowing of money or advances of salary.

12. If something is broken or not working, tell us immediately so we can replace/repair.

13. If you are uncomfortable in the house, need anything or have questions – tell us or ask.


We will pay you 3,400 a month for salary plus 300 food allowance

We will pay the Levy in advance

We will pay for your health insurance with AIA.

We will also pay for any thing else required by HK law.

When you have all the papers from immigration and receipts from the doctor, insurance, etc… we will pay you for all of that too.

Vacation – we will let you know when we are having a holiday, and you can have your leave to the Philippines at the same time.


We will also give you a weekly budget for shopping and household goods – but we hope you will spend much less – so we do want the change. If you run out of money, you need to let us know.

Please save ALL receipts and keep record off all expenses in a notebook

We will want to see the notebook and receipts sometimes – not because we don’t trust you, but because we want to see how much money we are spending.

We prefer if you shop at the wet market and Welcome/ParknShop and try to buy inexpensive food and inexpensive items.

We expect you to buy the household cleaning materials and anything we need. Just save the receipts and write it all down in a notebook that we can see.

If you need something special, please let us know.

Please also keep a shopping list of what we need. For heavy/bulky items I will order online once a month or so (washing powder for example), and we usually go to the supermarket at the weekend, so please write us a list with what we need.


The 12 statutory holidays for 2007 are :

1. The first day of January (1 January)

2. The day preceding Lunar New Year's Day (17 February)*

3. The second day of the Lunar New Year (19 February)

4. The third day of the Lunar New Year (20 February)

5. Ching Ming Festival (5 April)

6. Labour Day (1 May)

7. Tuen Ng Festival (19 June)

8. Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (1 July)

9. The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (26 September)

10. National Day (1 October)

11. Chung Yeung Festival (19 October)

12. Chinese Winter Solstice Festival (22 December) or Christmas Day (25 December) (at the option of the employer)



Vacuum every day

Clean the bathrooms

Clean the Kitchen

Check the plants to see if they need water


Monday - Wash the towels

Monday – Change water in all vases and wash the vases too

Monday – Make baby food

Tuesday – Dust the shelves

Tuesday – Wash Baby Sheets and Bed Toys

Wednesday – Clean the balcony and balcony doors

Wednesday -– Make baby food

Thursday – Change the sheets on the bed and wash the sheets

Thursday - Change water in all vases and wash the vases too

Friday - Clean under and behind the bed, sofas, desks, dressers, book shelves, tables, etc…under the carpets, etc…

Friday – Wash Baby Sheets and Bed Toys

Friday – Make baby food




For Adults: The white box of Persil, only half a ‘scoop’, Cold Wash (MIN)

For Baby: The blue box of Persil Non Bio, only half a ‘scoop’, 30 Degrees

NO fabric softener for Baby

Use Dryer for Sheets, Towels and some adult clothing (I will show you what is okay to dry)

Lay flat to dry for delicate clothing – underwear, bras, certain shirts, I will show you

Hang to dry – baby clothing, nappies – okay to put drying rack outside in garden

Iron and put away – use plastic hanger for clothes

Husband's trousers – put a crease in the front

Wife's trousers and all Jeans –do not crease

Do NOT iron: sheets, towels, baby clothing, underwear, elastic in any clothing (my maternity trousers have elastic at the waist, please do not iron that section)

Dry Cleaning – we will leave for you in a bag with money to pre-pay.

When the dry cleaning is returned – please take out of plastic bags and hang up in closet using plastic hangers.


Water plants as required.

Orchids do not need a lot of water – only once every 2 weeks or so

Use spray mister to water leafy plants

Use hose in back to water back garden

Dust the leaf of the house plants regularly

Be sure there is no water in the plates below the plants

If you need to re-pot plants – let us know and we will buy soil to use.


Wax and polish all wood floors – move furniture and carpets to do this

Wash all walls of bathrooms and kitchen with bleach

Clean all the shoes –dust, polish as required

Polish all Brass – fans, elephants, etc…

Use Special furniture oil/wax on all the – tables and chairs

Wash the covers of the sofa when needed, once every 2 months.

Polish the leather sofas, once every 2 months – we will show you what to use.


We will ask for the curtains and duvets to be dry cleaned sometimes, and other special things done in the flat.

For example – before our parents arrive I will want the entire flat to be perfectly clean with a ‘Spring Clean’

If we go away – we will also ask for special things to be done – like ‘spring clean’ or to re-coat the wooden floors, etc…

Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)
Splendid Cri you are my saviour in this part.Yes I have a 7 month old who is very energetic n can be a handfull.your idea has really enlighten me on how to put down my house rules.

Thanks so so much Cri

arlina (11 yrs ago)
cri, where do you buy that special polish for wooden furnitures?

crj (11 yrs ago)
Arlina - They have (or at least did when we last went) Wax and Oil at Shambala in Horizon Plaza.

ohalei (11 yrs ago)
hi maz 27, could you please email a copy of the house rule to me. Many thanks in advance..

my email address:

rubyinthedust (11 yrs ago)
Hi Maz 27, I am new to HK and am hiring a helper and would also love a copy of the house rules. Please send me a private pm. Many thanks in advance.

tickles (11 yrs ago)
The list by Cri is great & timely since I just brought my 2mth old back from Canada and have a new helper!!

tickles (11 yrs ago)
Hi Maz 27 - can I have a copy of the houserules too? please send to: Many thanks!!!

Ed (11 yrs ago)
If people want to build a comprehensive list then we can put them onto a page and link to it from this channel of our site...

Feel free to post your rules on this thread

rubyinthedust (11 yrs ago)
Hi Maz 27 - can I have a copy of the houserules too? Please send to: Thank you

JacTac (11 yrs ago)
Hi Maz 27, I would really appreciate it if you could please email a copy of the DH house rules to me? I suspect this won't be the last request of you, as a copy of the DH guidelines sounds ideal.

My email address:

Many thanks in advance!!

Also thank-you to Cri for your edition too.

maz27 (11 yrs ago)
Hi Girls

I have send the DH rules to you as requested.


simonek (11 yrs ago)
Dear Maz27 could I also ask you for a copy of the house rules. I have not had a DH either and it would really help me as a guidenca. Thank you so much

My email:

thank you again

Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)
Hey Maz27

Nice to know you help other. I finaly got my helper and I gave her the guidelines though adjusted afew sections and its working well.

Thank alot and God bless

OK123 (11 yrs ago)
Dear Maz27,

Could i please have a copy of the rules as well.

Many thanks in advance!!!!!!

my email:

Obeah Man (11 yrs ago)
How enlightened....and all this in 2007!

Work from 6AM to 9PM... how many employers work these hours? Do you allow toilet breaks?

Work half day Sunday ... that's illegal unless you compensate it

Use the back door only... better not use the front lift either (It's not that long ago that some aprtments had signs in the lifts saying no dogs or helpers)

Statutory holidays only... while the employers get the benefit of all the other holidays, Saturdays and typhoon holidays.

$300 for food for one month... what's that? part of a calory controlled diet for helpers?

Would you be happy if your employer treated you this way?

Some people should not be allowed to employ helpers.

Tooletime (11 yrs ago)
I couldn't agree more Obeah Man. I would like some of the employers to follow their "rules" for a week and see how they do. I find it absolutely heartbreaking how hard these women work. It's degrading and inhumane. I just can not believe the "power" that some people feel they have over their domestic helpers. It's simply shameful. They deserve so much more in life. My hope is that they find an employer who will treat them with the respect they deserve.

crj (11 yrs ago)
Well Obeah man, my helper just told me she missed her mother and loved me and gave me flowers on Mother's Day.

She appreciates I take the time to explain things, send her to YWCA courses, and teach her a lot about child care and cooking.

She also loves that she has an A/C in her room, and I allow her sister to come over on holidays/Sundays. She is also planning to have her birthday party here and use the garden and BBQ - we offered this to her and had to convince her it was really okay.

We live on the ground floor of a walk up (it is a walk up from the front, but garden level in the back) - the back door actually has LESS stairs than the front door.

When she works half day on Sunday, she gets ALL of Saturday off - so she gets a day and a half off a week - and yes this is legal.

The house rules are written and strict - don't comment on what happens in practice unless you are actually here. She has a lot of down time in the day, and is usually in bed before me and up after me. I also have a newborn, that she does not assist with at all.

I also am hiring a second helper, so it is not too much work for either of them. Yet I know many families who have 1 helper care for 5 or 6 people, and don't offer any extra assistance.

Since the second helper is not here yet, I have a part time (legal with HKID) helper come 3x week so it is not too much work for my helper.

I must be terrible...

adelaide (11 yrs ago)
You don't have policies and rules to follow in your own employment? Interesting.

While we set up "household guidelines" for our helper, I can assure you they are completely in accordance with the law and I would be happy to follow these. There is nothing too onerous in it - it simply lists our expectations of the tasks we would like done (as the employer) and the requisite standard. Considering it is our "equivalent" place of business I think this was necessary and our helper commented that this made her introduction to our household very easy. She is encouraged at all times to make suggestions on the rules but has not so far - and our helper knows how to make suggestions.

While I agree that some of the rules you are quoting are illegal, your responses are not correct. No payment can be made in lieu of day off, a helper is required to have a 24 hour period off a week (ours has 48 hours as I like the weekend to myself but she comes and goes as she chooses)

The 300 food allowance is just that, an allowance – it is a supplement. By both of your reasoning Obeah Man and Tootltime, I expect you get fed at work??? Again an interesting scenario (and just so you know, our helper eats anything in the household).

People run their household’s differently and I am sure people will modify the rules/guidelines to suit their needs. I am sure people do not appreciate your judgment. I didn’t.

Mrs Mwangi (11 yrs ago)
I agree Adelaide, people run their homes differently and the guidlines can be changed to suiut the house hold and helper.

I suppose Obeah Man and Tootltime live in a world where there are no rules/guidlines(i wonder which planet)how is it do you spit,throw litter,cross the road anyhow you wish,get to work anytime and do whatever you wish... just to mention afew... if you dont then you are following guidlines and rules of where you are.

Same applies to the helper guidline/rules they are to let her know what is expected in order to leave in harmony.

If you dont like the list of guidlines offered why not get your own or better yet dont make any for your helper and let those who need these be...I for one dont appreciate your judgmental ATT..

bbvv (11 yrs ago)
Putting guidelines to use are good as both the helper and employer knows what each day's duties are and there is no need for the helper asking the employer what to do and vice-versa.

My maid at the moment would prefer to follow guidelines because she feels silly having to ask us what to do everyday.

I work full time and there are procedures to follow at work like cut-off times, deadlines to meet etc otherwise everything will go haywired and we will have clients complaining to us.

Fishing (11 yrs ago)
Dear Maz27,

Could you pls send a copy of Mrs Miggins' house rules to me also ? Email is

Many thanks.

Ponder (11 yrs ago)
Dear Maz27,

Please also send me a copy of Mrs Miggins' house rules.



Mrs Miggins (11 yrs ago)
There's a thread on this board called "Calling Mrs Miggins" I have posted the house rules there for everyone.

Mrs Miggins (11 yrs ago)
But just in case:


House Rules for Domestic Helper

(DH is short for Domestic Helper)

1. During the time of employment in the DH will be supervised and be responsible to Mrs. X.

2. The employer’s apartment is private property and has many personal and confidential items. The safety of the employer’s family and valuables are very important to them. At no time will the DH allow personal guests to visit the apartment/ enter the apartment without the prior approval of the employer. Also, at no time will the DH give the keys of the home to any friend or relative for any purpose whatsoever. If guests have been in the apartment without the prior approval of the employer or keys have been given to another person, the DH’s employment will be terminated immediately.

3. During working hours the DH is employed to pay full attention to their duties. The use of mobile telephones (both making and receiving phone calls) is not permitted during working hours. When the DH is not working, the employer requests that the DH take calls in their private room allocated to them and that they keep the ring tone low so as not to disturb the other people in the apartment.

4. The security of the employer’s family and apartment is very important to them. The DH will not leave either the back door or front door open at any time apart from when cleaning those areas and will make sure that all windows, back & front door and patio doors are securely locked before leaving the apartment.

5. The personal belongings of the employer are private and are not to be used, borrowed or removed for any reason.

6. The personal business, contents and belongings of the employer’s apartment are confidential and are not to be discussed with anyone.

7. The electric entertainment systems (including television, DVD player, computer, hi fi stereo, camera, ipod, video camera) in the apartment are private property and are not to be used under any circumstances.

8. If the DH is to have a television set or stereo in their room this is only to be used after the DH has finished their working hours. We ask that the DH keep’s the volume of the television to a level that will not disturb the other people in the household.

9. The employer will provide the DH with cleaning and sterilising products to do the household duties. The DH will use the products purchased by the employer to carry out their duties.

10. Please be aware that the X household is a “no smoking” household.

11. The employers telephone is “off-limits” to the DH unless in the event of an emergency, to call the employer or to make an arrangement on behalf of the employer. The telephone IS NOT to be used for making or receiving person phone calls unless with the prior approval of the employer. The cost of any unapproved phone calls made by the DH will be deducted from their monthly salary upon receipt of the telephone bill.

12. The DH will be allowed to give the employers telephone number to relatives for emergency use only.

13. As an employee the DH will pay attention to their personal grooming and hygiene. In particular the employer requests that long hair be tied back neatly so as to not fall into food, get in the way of duties etc. In addition the DH should ensure that their clothes are washed and clean and that they themselves pay attention to their own personal cleanliness and hygiene.

14. The employer will pay for return flight to the DH’s home country as per Hong Kong law governing the hiring of domestic helpers. The employer will not pay for flights to the DH’s home country and any additional expenses incurred should the DH need to return due to family emergencies or problems.

15. Should the DH need to return back to their home country due to an emergency e.g. to attend to a sick father then the cost of this will be bore by the DH and not the employer. Any time taken off work not as part of the annual leave shall be deemed as “unpaid leave”.

16. If for any reason the DH fails to return to the employer on the agreed date following holidays, emergency leave etc. then the employer will have no option but to terminate the DH’s employment and employ another DH to cover the duties required.

17. As part of their duties the DH will be taking care of the XXXX. This may be on a full-time, part-time or babysitting basis. When the DH is taking care of the baby it is essential that they follow the rules below:

a. The DH will be given training and instructions on how to “look after the baby”, that is, how the X family want the baby to be treated and taken care of e.g. feeding, bathing, playing, steralising equipment, cleaning the baby’s clothes and equipment, sleeping and discipline. The DH must follow the employer’s preferences of how they want the baby taken care of.

b. When taking care of the baby, the DH must stay with and focus on the baby 100% and not do any other household chores e.g. ironing, cleaning, cooking or vacuuming.

c. At times you will be asked to bath the baby. When doing so you must stay with the baby at all times and not leave the baby unattended under any circumstances.

d. At times you will be asked to feed the baby. This is a very important duty. You must follow the employer’s instructions on how to do this and what products to use.

e. ON NO OCCASION will the DH shake the baby, shout at the baby or use force when dealing with the baby. If the DH does any of the above their employment will be terminated immediately.

18. The employer will either do the marketing or ask the DH to do the marketing on their behalf. When cooking for the X family the DH will not use any ingredients not approved by the employer in any of the recipes.

19. If there are any accidents in the apartment e.g. breakages, burning of clothes when ironing etc. the DH must inform the employer of what has happened so that the employer can arrange to have it fixed or replaced. Honesty is the best policy!

20. The DH must ensure that after cooking the gas oven and gas stove are turned off to avoid accidents.

21. The DH is responsible for ensuring that their own room is kept clean and tidy.

22. During employment the DH will have food and drinks provided for them. The employer will also provide the DH with adequate toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, shampoo & conditioner and feminine sanitary products.

23. During employment the DH will be provided with bed linen, towels and a TV in their room. They may also be provided with other items. These items are for use during the DH’s employment in the household and are to be left behind when employment ends.

24. As per the HK law during employment the DH is entitled to statutory holidays and to one day off per week. The one-day off per week will usually be on a Sunday. There may be a few rare occasions when the employer needs the assistance of the DH on a Sunday. When this happens the employer will give the DH two weeks prior notice and allocate another day as the DH’s day off. Other public holidays will be given at the discretion of the employer. When the DH has their day off, they should be back to the X household by 10pm so as not to disturb the family when they go to sleep and for the employer to make sure that the apartment is secure and locked up after the DH has returned.

These house rules have been made to ensure that there is good communication between the DH and employer.

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