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Regulations & Must-Know Info

Main provisions of the Standard Employment Contract in Hong Kong

The only employment contract acceptable by the Hong Kong Immigration Department is the Standard Employment Contract (ID407). This standard contract must be filled and signed by the employer of the foreign domestic worker (the Employer) and the foreign domestic worker (the Helper).

Note that the contract cannot be downloaded online. You must obtain the original copies at the Foreign Domestic Worker division of the Immigration Department located at Wan Chai.

The main provisions of the Standard Employment Contract are:

  • Duration:
    The contract is set for 2 years (clause 2). It can be terminated by any party with a 1 month notice period (clause 10). It cannot be extended: upon expiry of the contract, the Employer and the Helper who agree on continuation of employment must sign and submit a new contract (clause 13).
  • Location:
    The Helper shall work and reside at the Employer's residence (clause 3). The Employer shall provide the Helper with a suitable and furnished accommodation (clause 5b).
  • Duties:
    The Helper shall only perform domestic duties and exclusively for the Employer (clause 4a and 4b). Parties who violate this clause is violating the Immigration Ordinance and may face legal consequences.
  • Remuneration and expenses:
    The monthly wages paid by the Employer to the Helper cannot be less than the minimum legal allowable wage (clause 5a). In addition, the Employer shall provide the Helper with food free of charge or a food allowance per month (clause 5b). The Employer shall also be responsible for fees and expenses incurred for the arrival and the departure of the Helper, including the free passage and return from/to his/her place of origin to/from Hong Kong (clauses 7 and 8).
  • Holidays and leaves:
    The Helper shall be entitled to at least 1 rest day in every period of 7 days, statutory holidays and paid annual leaves of 7 to 14 days depending on the Helper's length of service for the same Employer (clause 6).

For details, please visit the Labour Department's website or refer to the Guidebook for the Employment of Domestic Helpers from Abroad (ID(E)969).

You can find the samples of the Standard Employment Contract for a Domestic Helper recruited from Outside Hong Kong (applicable w.e.f. 1.1.2017) at the end of this article. The samples are for reference only.

The information provided is a guide only and we do not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or outdated information. Regulations are subject to change and employers should check with the Immigration Department and/or the Labour Department for the latest updates.

Salary & other necessary expenses for hiring a domestic helper

  • Salary:
    Domestic helpers in Hong Kong are entitled to receiving a minimum salary also known as Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) which is set by the Government and revised on a regular basis. It is set at HK$4,630 per month on 28 September 2019. Should an employer choose not to provide food free of charge to a helper, the minimum food allowance of HK$1,121 per month must be paid to the helper.
  • Paid annual leave:
    The number of days is strictly regulated and set at 7 days per year for the 1st and 2nd year of service, and 1 additional day per year from the 3rd year of service onwards, and capped at a maximum of 14 days.
  • One rest day per week: Some employers choose to allow their helper more than the legal requirement – often between 1.5 and 2 days per week, usually on weekends – to get to spend more quality time with their children.
  • Sick leave:
    Domestic helpers are allowed 2 paid sick leave days every month for the first year and then 4 paid sick leave days every month after the first year. When they have accumulated enough paid sick leave days they are entitled to receiving a sickness allowance set at 4/5 of their average daily wage. Helpers are strictly prohibited from working during a sick leave. As such, employers need to come up with a contingency plan – based on their needs, employers might have to hire a babysitter, a local helper or a nurse until their helper is back on her feet – in consequence, they might potentially incur additional expenses.
  • 12 Statutory Holidays per year – and get paid after a 3-month working period with their employer.

Depending on your helper’s profile and your expectations, you might need to have her trained to acquire or fine-tune certain of her skills e.g. cooking, baking, languages, etc. Additional training might be especially relevant to first-timers i.e. helpers who have never worked in Hong Kong before, since the pre-training they usually receive in their home country is not often sufficient or adequate. At the end of their contract, domestic helpers are entitled to receiving an end-of-contract allowance – a severance or long-term payment – depending on how long they have been employed by their employer and whether they meet a certain number of criteria.

Finally, certain additional recurring expenses, when they apply, must also be considered by employers. Indeed, employers of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong must provide their helper with free food or a food allowance instead. No matter which option you set your mind on, make sure that you factor in food-related expenses incurred when employing a domestic helper.

Additional punctual expenses – which might come up unexpectedly – must also be factored in to truly reflect a domestic helper’s salary package:

Employers of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong are legally required to cover their worker’s medical expenses. A helper is entitled to receiving free medical treatment when she gets sick or suffers a personal injury while employed by her employer, regardless of whether it can be attributed to her employment. Employers are therefore advised to get a full medical and hospitalization coverage. JollyHelper has chosen to partner with a leading insurance company to offer a comprehensive coverage plan.

Employers must shoulder the expenses of a return ticket for their helper – from their country of origin at the beginning of the employment period and back to their home country when the employment period ends.

Requirements to hire a domestic helper

These are the basic requirements you need to comply:

  • Employers must be a HKID card holder
  • Employers should be able to provide the address proof (electric, water, gas or rate), bank statement and income tax is not considering as address proof
  • Employers should be able to provide either an income proof such as income tax return P1&2 or bank statement of 3 months’ salary or bank deposit hk$350,000 or above for past six months per one helper hiring.

Regulations and procedures differ from country to country. In some countries, for example, your domestic helper is required to live with you. Laws pertaining to minimum wages, security deposits, medical tests and insurance can vary. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws and procedures applicable to you. Below are some links to useful websites:

Hong Kong: http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/employment/recruitment/foreigndomestichelper.htm

Singapore: http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-domestic-worker/employers-guide/employment-rules

UAE: http://www.visaprocess.ae/details.php?page=maid_sponsorship

Qatar: http://www.onlineqatar.com/info/maid-visa-qatar.aspx

Bring a helper to China

Yes. You can take your Helper to China but you cannot ask her to work and let her stay there for a long period of time. Helper should have a special visa entry from Immigration. The employer also need to have a supporting letter from the Hong Kong immigration Department.

Please be reminded that working in China is illegal for Domestic Helper who is holder of HK Foreign Domestic Helper Visa. It can result to substantial penalties to both employer and helper. You may also contact the Immigration Department for further information.

Currently, only expats in Guangdong province including Hong Kong and Macau residents can apply for a work visa for their domestic helpers. Chinese nationals are not allowed to hire a helper to work in the country.

Can I hire a live-out helper?

According to the Employment Ordinance, a Helper must stay in his/her employer’s premises. Some Foreign Domestic Helpers get hired for a part time jobs is also against the law and is subject to penalties.

Can I hire a part-time helper?

Holder of Hong Kong Foreign Domestic Helper Visa is NOT allow to get hired for a part time job. Hiring a part-time helper is against the law and is subject to penalties. It can result to substantial penalties to both employer and helper. If you are looking for a part-time help, you should hire a person with local citizenship.

Medical check-up upon helper’s arrival

Medical check-up will be done in the helper's home country; however it is okay if the employer prefers the helper to take a medical check-up upon arrival, extra charges apply.

In Hong Kong and Singapore, it is optional to send your helper for a medical checkup after she arrives. In some Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, a medical checkup upon helper's arrival is mandatory for domestic helper visa application.

Can a helper cross- country?

A helper cannot cross-country. Meaning, if a helper wish to work in Hong Kong while he/she is now located in any countries other than the country of origin, he/she must return to the country of origin and process all the documents in his/her own country.

When to pay for helper’s flight ticket?

According to the practice instituted by labour Department, employer is obliged to provide domestic Helper’s flight ticket to Hong Kong and responsible for the travel expenses from Hong Kong back to his/her country of origin under the employment contract. For terminated helpers, he/she must be provided with travel expense back to his/her country of origin. The mutual agreement should be settled by both employer and employee before the end of the visa to avoid overstaying.

When can your new helper start working?

A helper can start to work as soon as he/she is issued with a new visa. If he/she still has current valid visa, she is not allowed to work with any other employers.

  • ‘Finished contract’ helpers can usually start 4-6 weeks after starting the paperwork process.
  • Helpers who are terminated due to relocation or financial reasons can usually start 5 to 7 weeks after processing starts.
  • Helpers with ‘break’ and ‘terminated’ contract status can usually only start their jobs after 8-12 weeks
  • Those who are overseas and moving to Hong Kong for the first time will normally be able to start 10-12 weeks from signing.

Remember, your domestic worker can only start working for you once his or her visa has been processed. In the meantime, you can prepare your helper’s living space (which must be ‘suitable’ and must have reasonable privacy, according to the Immigration Department’s rules) and take out a mandatory insurance policy that covers your liability should your helper be injured on the job.

JollyHelper HK Hotline: +852 3612 9900

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