Leave and Time off for Foreign Domestic Helpers
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Leave and Time off for Foreign Domestic Helpers

Date Posted: 01/06/2021

For employers who wish to find questions about annual leave for domestic helpers, this is where you can find them. 

If you also want to know more about the ordinance in Hong Kong and the differences between rest days, statutory holidays and annual leaves, we include some answers as well. Read on to find all the important information you should know about annual leaves for domestic helpers. 

HelperFirst has outlined some rights and obligations that will enable employers and employees to understand better.

A domestic employee in Hong Kong must receive the following holidays:

  • Paid yearly leave (between 7 days to 14 days)
  • Statutory holidays (twelve days in a year)
  • Rest days (at least once every seven days)
  • Annual break for helpers (seven-fourteen days)

The number of days an employee gets depends on how long the helper has spent in the services of an employer. 

A domestic helper who one employer has employed for more than nine years gets more days off than one who has worked for only two years. 

The year is calculated from the day the employee begins working. A domestic helper gets an extra annual day per year between the third to the ninth year in service.

Under the employment ordinance of Hong Kong, an employee who has been in the service of the same employer for over twelve months is entitled to seven days annual leave. Below is a breakdown of the years and expected days for annual leave;

  • The first year of service --> Seven days
  • Two years in service --> seven days
  • Three years --> Eight days
  • Four years --> Nine days
  • From nine years and above --> fourteen days

An employee is entitled to annual leave, but this decision is up to the employer to appoint a suitable timeframe, and the helper needs to confirm two weeks before the date. 

Statutory holidays are compulsory for all employees.

There are seventeen holidays in Hong Kong, twelve of which are statutory holidays. Based on the employment law, an employer is expected to give his helper a paid day leave on every statutory holiday. An employer can call for a helper's services on the other free days. 

Suppose a domestic helper has been in the employment of an employer for at least three months before any statutory holidays. In that case, the employer will need to let the employees enjoy this day as a paid holiday. Some statutory holidays in Hong Kong are:

  • The first quarter of the year
  • Labour day (First day of May)
  • Hong Kong establishment day (First day of July)
  • The Chung Yeung celebration 
  • The second quarter of the year
  • The National day(the first day of October)s
  • Chinese New Year (first, second and third day of the Lunar year)
  • The third quarter of the year
  • Ching Ming Festival(the start of April)
  • Tuen Ng Festival (beginning of June)
  • Last quarter of the year
  • The day comes after the Chinese Mid-Autumn celebration 
  • Winter Solstice festival or Christmas (whichever your family prefers)

An employer who needs his helper to work on a holiday will have to make a request, and if the employee agrees, the employer has to select a day for compensation. It is prohibited to offer payment instead of giving a statutory holiday. 

Rest days are compulsory.

An employee under an agreement has the privilege of at least one day's rest every week. There must be compulsory breaks during the work period. The employer is to inform the employee on the day that will is the rest day. Rest days are usually Mondays, Saturdays or Sundays. It is wrong to ask your helper to work on their rest day unless there is an arrangement set in place. If the helper decides to work, they must take their rest day within that same month. It shouldn't exceed that month. 

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