Guide about Domestic Helper Annual Leave in Hong Kong

Guide about Domestic Helper Annual Leave in Hong Kong


11 Jun 2024 | 5 min read

Do you have questions about annual leave for domestic helpers? Are you sure you are enforcing the Employment Ordinance in Hong Kong? What are the differences between Annual leave, Statutory holidays, and Rest Days? To assist both employers and employees in better understanding, HelperPlace prepared a brief summary of the most important rights and obligations.

How many Domestic Helper Annual Leave is allowed in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, domestic helpers are entitled to the following leave:

  • Statutory holidays (14 days in a year)
  • Paid annual leave (from 7 days to a maximum of 14 days based on the length of service)

What are the differences between Annual leave, Statutory Holidays, and Rest Days?

1) Statutory holidays

Statutory holidays are mandatory for all domestic helpers.

Hong Kong celebrates 17 national holidays, 14 of which are statutory holidays. The employment ordinance requires that employers provide employees with a paid day off for all statutory national holidays; employers can require employees to work on the remaining 3 holidays as part of their employment contract in Hong Kong. Another holiday should be arranged if a statutory holiday falls on a rest day.

Suppose a domestic helper has been employed continuously by the employer for three months preceding any of the following statutory holidays. In that case, the employer must allow his employee to enjoy these days as a paid holiday.

  1. First quarter of the year

    • Chinese New Year (1st day, Lunar Year's day, 2nd day, and 3rd day of Lunar year)
  2. Second quarter of the year

    • Ching Ming Festival (beginning of April)
    • First day of May (Labour Day)
    • The Birthday of the Buddha (Mid of May)
    • Tuen Ng Festival (Dragon Boat Festival, beginning of June)
  3. Third quarter of the year

    • The first day of July (Hong Kong Establishment Day)
    • The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
  4. Last quarter of the year

    • The first day of October (National Day)
    • Chung Yeung Festival (beginning of October)
    • Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (at the discretion of your family)
    • The first weekday after Christmas Day

Making any form of payment is prohibited instead of granting statutory holidays. However, an employer can require his helper to work during one of these statutory days. If the employee accepts this request, the employer must offer a compensation day. If a statutory holiday falls within a period of annual leave, it will be counted as annual leave, and another rest day or holiday should be arranged.

2) Annual leave for Helper from 7 to 14 days

If a domestic helper is covered under the Hong Kong Employment Ordinance and has worked for at least 12 months with the same employer, the employee is entitled to 7 days of annual leave. Annual leave pay is determined based on the average daily wages earned by the helper in the 12 months preceding the leave.

Paid annual leave for a Helper depends on how many years of service a domestic helper has with an employer. The year of service begins from the day you start work with your employer. The annual leave pay is calculated based on the length of service with the same employer. An employee will get 1 additional annual day per year from the 3rd year until the 9th year and above.

  • 1 year of service --> 7 days
  • 2 Years of service --> 7 days
  • 3 years of service --> 8 days
  • 4 years of service --> 9 days
  • ...
  • 9 years and above --> 14 days

A helper is entitled to take annual leave, subject to his employer's right to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken (the employer must confirm at least two weeks in advance). A helper cannot accept payment instead of annual leave unless the leave is more than 10 days.

The employer must provide written notice at least 14 days in advance to confirm annual leave dates.

3) Rest days

Employees working under a foreign domestic helper contract are entitled to at least one rest day every seven days. The employer must allow each employee a 24-hour continuous break every week.

An employer must clearly notify his employee which day will be the rest day. In Hong Kong, the rest day is often Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Except if an employer gets the agreement of his helper, he's not allowed to be required to work during a rest day. If an employer gets exceptional consent from his domestic, he must compensate this day within the same month.

Thanks to this brief summary, you know the main obligations between an employer and his helper. If you require more information, don't hesitate to contact the following department:

More information about foreign domestic workers' employment contracts is available on HelperPlace Blog.