10 things that domestic helpers need to look for whom they choose to work for – Part 2
6. Working place
Domestic Helpers need to check out the working place and the environment where they are giving their interview. If there is negativity in terms of their choice and routine chores, it is important that they do not choose to work there. It is also mandatory to check whether the employers have a good background and are timely with their payments. Domestic helpers seldom pay attention to this fact. One will find households, which default on payments sometimes. Do ask about the household from maids, who worked previously about the habits and schedule of the family members.
Since domestic workers are employed in private homes, they are sometimes mistreated and even isolated from others. The good or bad will of their employer matters in this case. It is important that while scouting for work, choose an employer and working place that pays well and does not put down self esteem.
7. Opt for a good third party agency to find work
In some cases, domestic workers do not find enough good quality work. They get enrolled with third-party agencies in Hong Kong that get them jobs from the local regions. These agencies charge a fee for the employment opportunities and can only negotiate the placement, but rarely do they oversee working conditions, the nature of work, and other scenarios. Also, it is important that domestic helpers know their rights in such cases and hence opt for a good third party agency for good quality work assurance in right working conditions. Agencies are not only brokers; they have a responsibility to stem criminal activity in households too. There are online sites like helperplace.com too that connect domestic helpers with employers quickly, serving as a common platform for both ends.
8. Try to choose a job that works for your long-term prospects
Most of the foreign helpers choose to find a job that pays a reasonable salary for the chores and prefer to find employers directly. They don’t opt for agencies so that they do not have to pay fees. But one should find a job as a domestic helper with homes where they can enjoy consistent work with good working standards and a better atmosphere for their living.
Live-in domestic workers are known to experience greater isolation, lower privacy and negligible mobility with longer hours and mediocre payments too. Additionally, some domestic helpers are vulnerable to mistreatment by employers.
Hence foreign and domestic helpers need to gauge the challenges involved in living with certain households that are good in handling maids, helpers and the like. A job with long-term prospects is always feasible.
9. Placement fees and debt bondage
Many helpers in Hong Kong are pushed into debt by agencies, which charge illegal placement fees. Agencies levy certain charges sometimes, in lieu of training and medical examination. Domestic helpers in Hong Kong are charged as per government rules, wherein the maximum legal charges amount to 10 per cent of first pay. Based on the minimum allowable wage, about HK$431 can be legally charged by agencies for their recruitment services.
However, some agencies in Hong Kong flout the law and are known to charge up to HK$21,000. Desperate domestic helpers “loan” the money and are forced to pay back the amount with 70 to 80 per cent deduction from their monthly salary for nearly 8 months. Domestic helpers, who are often in poverty and debt, are further pushed into the abyss of illegal payback.
Employers are sometimes unaware of the situation, and hence domestic helpers are put into a precarious position of debt bondage. Every domestic helper needs to know about the fair charges and their rights when working in Hong Kong.
10. Annual Leaves and Notice Period
Domestic helpers need to abide by the rules of the household but during their interview, need to stress on their paid leaves other than some lower household chores one day in a week. On an average, domestic helpers in Hong Kong are given a single paid leave every month. Additionally, domestic helpers and the employers are expected to give adequate notice before the agreement between the helper and household ceases to exist. This gives domestic helpers enough time to find a new job, extend their working visa if they hail from other countries, and support themselves. In case of unfair dismissals, the helpers can approach the agency or the helpers’ union to sort out the problem.
Not many domestic helpers are aware of the afore-mentioned things that they should know before finalizing heir stint at a household. Keep all the ten points in mind for a safe and successful helping stint in Hong Kong.