Finding a quality helper in Hong Kong is like finding any good employee. It takes a fair amount of effort. From the get-go, you need to decide if you need a full-time domestic helper or if you might be better served to hire someone to assist you on a part-time basis.
Suppose you are an expat looking for a full-time domestic helper in Hong Kong. In that case, you should read through this guide to understand what you can expect in terms of challenges, adjustments, solutions, and costs. While it can take a load off, hiring a helper in HK takes some adjustments before you can get settled on the idea.
Expats living in Hong Kong who hire domestic helpers can find fruitful outcomes in both their work and personal lives, as a result of a good hire. It would be helpful to have a brief background of where most of these helpers come from and what their exact job descriptions are before, getting employed. Hong Kong’s more than 300,000 foreign domestic helpers are usually of Filipino or Indonesian descent. Most of them are working for higher pay, which they can then send to their families, back home. Their expected contributions to your home include a variety of tasks around the house. Cleaning, shopping for household needs, preparing meals, and taking care of your laundry, are included on that list. Often, domestic helpers can aid in childcare which may consist of taking your child to and from school daily or babysitting. The law dictates that domestic helpers in Hong Kong are to live with you, so make sure you provide proper quarters for them inside your home.
In terms of pay, domestic workers are paid at least the minimum statutory wage of $34.50 an hour, though most can charge you to up to $110. On average, expats in Asia pay their domestic helpers at least $5,000 per month if they have more experience or have been employed in the household for years. Should you resort to hiring a part-time helper in HK, the going rate per hour will be from $65 to $120. Some domestic helpers also get bonuses during the holidays, besides being provided with proper accommodation in your home. You are also obligated to provide your helper with a food allowance of at least $1053 a month, medical insurance. Also, you are to absorb the costs incurred for their entitlement to home leave every two years of service.
While there is a big chance for you to treat your domestic helpers as part of your family, remember that they too have families are waiting for them in their home countries. Giving them the respect they deserve is essential in building a good working relationship. In turn, they develop respect for you and your family as well. Some unfair employers have been reported to overwork their helpers by subjecting them to gruelling 15-hour workdays or even longer. Make sure you give them their rest and day-off. Some domestic helpers in Hong Kong can be very good at helping with your children’s development. That is thanks to them potentially having younger siblings or children back home. Providing them with proper care will give you many great returns in terms of loyalty, service, and respect.
Speaking of rest days, domestic helpers in Hong Kong are given at least one day every week to enjoy a well-deserved day-off. If you happen to need your helper’s services on that particular day, make sure you provide a make-up rest day on another day of the week. Monetizing rest days is frowned upon in Hong Kong to ensure proper work-life balance for domestic helpers. Your domestic helper should also have 12 statutory holidays and annual leave. Helpers in Hong Kong are also entitled to some of the general public holidays.
When looking for a helper, you may want to visit your nearest employment agencies but be careful of those that overcharge their employees or practice unethical methods. Another right way to find a domestic helper in Hong Kong is through online sites such as AsiaXPAT. AsiaXPAT has compiled some useful tips for hiring a domestic helper.
If you are hiring a live-in domestic helper for the first time, it can feel a bit awkward letting them share your home. Try bridging the gap by finding out more about your helper’s country of origin and talking to them about yours to avoid cultural differences. For Filipino domestic helpers, know that most of them are predominantly Catholic and have a good grasp of the English language. On the other hand, many Indonesian domestic helpers in Hong Kong can understand Cantonese and practice the Muslim faith. That may require you to give them the liberty of wearing headscarves and allow them to refrain from eating pork. While it may require some adjustments on your part, no cultural difference is too big if you discuss it with your helper.
When hiring a helper, you should also take note of specific costs and proper scheduling for paperwork concerning their employment history or visa status. To know more about various HK domestic helper terms, here are some worth remembering:
Finished contract – a finished contract domestic helper in Hong Kong, means that your hire has already completed their two-year contract. That means they can then start their employment as soon as they renew their visa. When hiring through an agency, costs may range from $1,800 to $3,000 and will take from a month to six weeks. On the other hand, without an agency, prices may be as less as $800 and will take no longer than a month.
Terminated - As an employer, you have the right to terminate your contract with your HK domestic helper. It can even be before they finish their two-year contract if the reason is considered valid by immigration services. Such causes include relocation, financial incapacity, or the helper has broken the contract by quitting work. In these instances, the helper will be deported unless they land another deal with a different employer. The estimated fees and timeframe for hiring a terminated helper can come to $3,500 to $9,000 and from two to three months.
First timer or overseas hire – For people from overseas who will be hired as domestic helpers in Hong Kong for the first time, costs may range from $4,000 to $10,000 and can take to up to 4 months.
How to manage a helper.
Hone your managing skills by properly orienting your domestic helper with their daily tasks. Practice patience as employers’ needs vary, and you can’t expect your helper in Hong Kong to know how to run every household, instantly. Listen to their concerns if there are any and address them problems via discussions. Some may have a feeling of being homesick, so be considerate enough to give your helper time to adjust. Make your house rules clear and schedule tasks appropriately. It is essential to provide your HK domestic helper (as you would any employee) regular assessments of their performance, so they’ll know which areas to improve on.
Also, it is crucial to keep in mind that helpers with more experience, strong skill sets, and greater competency will expect (and can command) better salaries. These salaries are significantly higher than the minimum stipulated by the Hong Kong government. So if you‘d prefer a highly qualified domestic helper in Hong Kong who requires minimal training, be prepared to pay a premium.