Live In Rules for Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong

Live In Rules for Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong


06 Oct 2023 | 5 min read

Hiring a domestic helper in Hong Kong is essential for managing household tasks. When both parents work and struggle with time for kids and home, domestic help offers convenience. Understanding the crucial Domestic Helper Live In Rules is vital. These encompass accommodation, food, and medical considerations. Let's explore these essential guidelines for hiring a live-in helper!

Local Helper or Foreign Domestic Helper

Large families often find great relief in having full-time domestic help. In Hong Kong, the majority of domestic helpers come from countries like Indonesia or the Philippines, known as Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDH). There are distinct rules for hiring foreign domestic helpers and local helpers. Local helpers, typically Hong Kong citizens, can be hired at any time for any number of days. Conversely, foreign domestic helpers can only be hired legally with a 2-year full-time live-in contract. Since a significant portion of the workforce comprises FDH, our focus will be on this category. Employers should recognize that improved living conditions are an attractive incentive for workers. Hence, good accommodation is a crucial aspect of compensation and can attract experienced workers.

Why you should provide free accommodation for your Domestic Helper?

According to Hong Kong law, employers must provide appropriate accommodation within their home for domestic helpers, making live-out arrangements not permissible. The live-in rule was introduced by the government in 2003 to ensure that local workers have fair opportunities for employment as domestic helpers. The helper is required to reside with the employer and work at the contracted address. Although Hong Kong apartments are generally small, providing a separate room is not mandatory. 'Suitable accommodation' means the helper should have reasonable privacy. They can share a room with children, but not with teenagers or adults of the opposite gender. If needed, the living space or room can be partitioned to enhance the helper's living conditions.

Why are basic facilities essential for domestic helpers?

A domestic helper should have access to fundamental amenities such as a suitable bed, pillows, blankets, wardrobes, a well-lit and ventilated living space, convenient toilet and bathing facilities, and clean drinking and utility water. These are essential human needs, and providing free access to these amenities is crucial.

Should you provide Food Allowance or Free Food?

Employers also need to provide free food to the helpers, if not, and then they need to pay a food allowance equivalent to $1236 per month should be given. If the employer is thinking about providing free food, then, a clear communication is better so that the worker is aware of the type of food that he is allowed to have.

Medical Insurance is Mandatory

The employer must ensure medical care and insurance coverage for the domestic helper, as mandated by Hong Kong law. It's important to carefully select insurance with comprehensive coverage to minimize expenses. A crucial reminder is to limit the helper's tasks strictly to domestic work. Employers should refrain from requesting assistance for personal or professional engagements outside the home. Treating helpers with care and appreciation is essential. Employers should also provide training and insights into their lifestyle and preferences, facilitating an easier working relationship. A content and valued helper will consistently provide excellent service.

What are the consequences of violating the live-in rule for domestic helpers in Hong Kong?

  • The maximum fine is HK$150,000 and not just months, but up to 14 years of imprisonment
  • Potential termination of the employment contract
  • Risk of the helper's visa being revoked
  • Negative impact on future hiring prospects for the employer
  • Violation of Hong Kong labor laws
  • Damage to the employer's reputation within the community and industry
  • Potential difficulties in hiring a replacement helper
  • Strain on the employer-helper relationship
  • Increased scrutiny from relevant authorities