Are your Domestic Helpers Unhappy? Here’s what you can do

Are your Domestic Helpers Unhappy? Here’s what you can do


14 Aug 2020 | 5 min read

Domestic helpers in Hong Kong are seldom overworked and unappreciated for their work. Domestic helpers are treated with low esteem, which is probably why not many employers are able to retain them for a long period of time. Even the helpers now refrain from doing their work wholeheartedly, owing to distrust. Foreign domestic helpers render menial tasks in households in Hong Kong. They are mostly unhappy over their predicament as agencies continue to loot them for money while employers take advantage of their ignorance to exploit them for longer work hours. Now finding maids and helpers is a huge problem in Hong Kong. Hence it is advisable for employers to employ good tactics to retain their helpers when possible. Maids and helpers are touted to be the biggest support for families. Their value cannot be underestimated in any way. Like for all other professions, even they expect to be lauded for their efforts. If your helpers are unhappy, then it is high time that you look out for the reasons for their unhappiness, and then give them enough reason to continue working for you.

Treating Helpers with Kindness and Respect

One should treat domestic helpers with immense respect and kindness and even teach kids at home to respect and speak kindly to them. Your entire household needs to treat them as their family members till the time they work for you. It is also important that all acts of kindness need to be backed by genuine respect and concern for them. Getting them groceries, beauty products they like, and even some extra allowance on their birthdays or special days are gestures to show how much they matter to you. Treat domestic helpers as human beings and not some cheap workers who are supposed to clean your utensils and keep the house spick and span. It is important to change one’s attitude towards them.

Reward them with Incentives and Surprises

The Hong Kong government in any way does not specify rules that force employers to award incentives or added allowance to domestic helpers for their work. But employers need to be a bit generous to retain the helpers, if they are professional enough to get things done. They are given live-in residence at one’s place but it is important to have a good nice place for them so that they feel comfortable to sleep at least at the end of the day. Some of the top rewards that one can give their helpers for their happiness include:

  • Annual Bonus (1 month extra pay for satisfactory performance during their birthday or some special occasion.)
  • Some useful gift as a token of gratitude, which can be a gadget they like or want – like a smartphone, speakers, a tablet etc.
  • A minor increase in salary ever year based on their performance.
  • Added paid holidays once in a while over and above specified in the contract.
  • Christmas gifts like a dress, or a ticket back home for a week for letting them spend some time with their family.

Employing domestic workers is a huge challenge but if one finds the ideal helper, retain them at all costs. In the bustling life, it is difficult to get odd jobs done or get household chores completed. If one has children, a maid becomes very important as most households have both parents working outside. Maids ease the load and take responsibility of children. Generosity is a must for retention. But not all rewards or incentives can be of money. Instead of giving extra money or allowance, one can allow them to go out for the weekend with their friends, spend some money for watching a film or even let them enjoy a dinner by themselves as they want. Giving away unused things is also a good way to reward domestic helpers for their good work. Help domestic helpers to be part of the family with the rewards and the incentives. Help them to do better than before. If you feel they are creative and can do better with their talent, help them with their driving lessons or to learn a new craft. Fund them some money to learn an art they love but cannot spend. Your acts will never go unrewarded too, as those helpers will happily even shoulder extra tasks when you are not around and take extra care of the family.

More ideas to reward them and make them feel happy

  • A thank you card or a skills award certificate.
  • Gift them chocolates or buy cosmetics if they like.
  • Teach domestic helpers to talk to relatives online.
  • Let the domestic helper use unused gadgets for their needs including electronics.
  • Gifting them based on their interests will show that you care for them and their happiness. Gift a guitar, who loves music or buy tickets to a gaming event if they are into sports.

Knowing what and when to reward them is important. Do not spoil them with excessive rewards and pricey ornaments. But go for something subtle yet memorable to show your appreciation.