Domestic Helper Advice

This page is a culmination of 8 years of counseling and getting helpers jobs in Hong Kong!

I created it out of compassion after hearing ALL the horror and painful stories from my years in Hong Kong and getting my wife out of her helper job and into the domestic wife situation lol!

1st thing to know now that you're here reading this I have to say AGENCIES ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND AND THEY ARE NOT LOOKING OUT FOR YOU, AND THEY WILL LIE AND INTIMIDATE YOU AND PUT A FEAR IN YOU SO IT'S JUST ENOUGH TO MANIPULATE YOU INTO DOING ANYTHING THEY SAY OR SUGGEST!

2nd thing to know and remember, even the agencies and training facilities in your own country come up with absolutely stupid rules and suggestions that will do you nothing but harm. One example I've heard from helpers is: the training/agency in my country told me not to say anything to my new employer for at least 3 weeks! OMG, by the 3rd week you could be in absolute misery! Don't think that you can't talk and amiably talk to you employer ever!

NOW I MUST EMPHASIZE THIS, AND I CAN'T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH, YOU ARE A VALUABLE HUMAN BEING, YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO A JOB THAT IS FULFILLING AND SATISFYING AND THAT YOU CAN HAVE AN ATMOSPHERE THAT IS FRIENDLY AND RELATIVELY CALM.

I say this because I know exactly what is in the mind of the majority of helpers! Let me emphasize what I know!

Helpers are predominantly, in a hurry to work.
In need of money and sometimes desperately!
Most are scared to death they won't get a job!
When they get a job, they are fearful they'll lose it and they are a victim to all kinds of persecution, intimidation and threats along with character assassinations till there's only a miserable end where they are sick of it all!

This doesn't have to be and I'm going to tell you how to avoid this all the time.

Ok, first of all, I need to emphasize several important items.

1.)  No matter what country you're going to, get online and research the immigration rules for helpers!
Get familiar with other laws like labor laws and especially those pertaining to your future job.

I know most say, it's so much work, or I don't have time, or I don't have access to the internet. Guess what ladies, you have time, and you can find a public internet connection somewhere or use a relative or friends house WiFi!

2.)  Before you end up in another country, you'll want to know the emergency numbers of the police and maybe the local hospital. If you've signed a contract, read it thoroughly and know what the employers obligations are to you. Then, do not accept anything less! Don't compromise with anything that makes you feel uncomfortable in your gut, because it will cause misery on a daily basis and you don't want to be in that position. There are already many other things an employer can request while working that will compromise your honesty, integrity, maybe even morals and consciousness to do good!

3.)  NEVER TAKE A JOB UNLESS THE EMPLOYER OR SOMEONE IN THE EMPLOYERS HOUSE SPEAKS ENGLISH. You cannot satisfy an employers needs when they can't tell you what they need at any given moment!  You will get yelled at often and ridiculed even more for not understanding them and making them happy! It just doesn't work!

4.)  ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS, this has several effects,
1 - if an employer will not amiably answer your questions of concern before you get the job, it means they are not the right employer for you!

2 - If an employer or agency tries to caution you about questioning an employer be concerned, ask an agency even before you make a commitment to that agency and here's why: Agencies are getting rich from the fees an employer pays and not a helpers fee, although those are extremely high too. Agencies are working for the employer and not for you although they'll sweet talk you and make you think they care, but 99.99% don't care about you and once you sign a contract, they will not enforce anything about the employer. If an employer breaks immigration rules your agency doesn't care because they have their money or are going to get it!

3 - I CAN'T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH, your job environment depends on you! If you don't ask, they won't tell you.

The questions below have been put together because of the horror stories I've heard, so if you have any doubt, or if a subject doesn't get talked about, you ask!

1.) If you are in the same city and meeting face to face, require that they show you the place of work and your sleeping area etc. DO NOT TAKE ANY EXCUSE THAT IT'S NOT POSSIBLE, THIS IS IMMEDIATELY A RED FLAG!

2.) If you are asked to care for the employers children, insist on meeting them at their home, because  they are ill-behaved to the max at home, but in public their parents will threaten them if they don't behave. My wife learned this lesson the hard way. The employer in Laguna City had 2 sons that were very bad
always yelling and throwing things and there was 4 years of age between the young son and oldest and the older son was always beating up the younger boy!

3.) Ask about any requirements demanded by immigration! Example: A contract usually lists the helper provided facilities required by the immigration department. In Hong Kong immigration says, the employer should provide the Helper suitable accommodation and with reasonable privacy!

Examples of unsuitable accommodations are: The helper having to sleep on made to do beds in a hallway, or sharing a room with an adult or teenager of the opposite sex.

One helper I know had to sleep on a board with no mattress. I met with her and gave her two camping bedrolls.

Then they go on to mention a visa will not be approved if certain essentials are not provided listed as follows:
A light and water supply, toilet and bathing facilities, a bed, blankets and quilt, pillows, a wardrobe for clothes, a refrigerator, a desk.

Then a helper is only supposed to provide domestic duties which does not include driving.
Then, it goes on to say that the portion of domestic duties include:  Household chores, cooking, possibly caring for aged persons, baby-sitting children, child minding, and has a fill in the blank for other duties that are required like your day off not being on the required Sunday.

REMINDER READ YOUR CONTRACT AT LEAST 3 TIMES OVER A PERIOD OF 3 DAYS. BE AWARE OF EVERYTHING IN IT!

There's a Foreign Domestic Helpers Guide to Hong Kong file at the bottom of the page that's downloadable!

THIS BEING SAID, YOU NEED TO ASK QUESTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH PARAGRAPHS RIGHT IN THE CONTRACT! HERE'S HOW TO DO IT,
Example: the Hong Kong contract states: a helper is to perform only domestic duties. So an appropriate question could be asked like this:
Sir/Madam: What are the duties that you would like me to do all the time, and are there any duties that are not domestic like driving a car, or minding a business in any way that you require?
The answers should be no for both of these.
A contract usually refers to a helper NOT being required to work any non-domestic job! ie. line 4b in the old HK contract.

FOOD OR FOOD ALLOWANCE:
LINE 5b in the older contract said they're required to provide the helper with suitable and furnished accommodation as per the attached schedule of accommodation and domestic duties, AND FOOD FREE OF CHARGE! OR a food allowance of _______ per month shall be paid to the helper.

So an appropriate question would be: Sir/Madam, are you planning on a food allowance for me or do I eat my meals as provided? Then, so important, you ask, how is it you will regulate my meals and the time I have to eat?

I have heard more than one horror story of employers that told helpers "do not eat anything without asking first," and they won't let the helper eat only a small meal and the helper is always hungry because of it!

Another question that needs to be asked, saying, the contract requires for you to provide me with a bed, does the bed you have for me to sleep on have a mattress? I've heard of helpers given a hard board for a bed with no mattress at all.

Item 8.) Employers are "REQUIRED" and are responsible for the following:
medical examination fees, and on-duty medical fee for any sickness or injury, authentication fees by the relevant consulate, visa fee, insurance fee, they're required to have insurance on you for medical and life insurance, administration fees for any Overseas Employment Administrations, or any other fees imposed by any associated government during the process!

If the employer is at fault for any injury or occupational disease they are required to pay compensation.

9c) If a helper is unable to continue there job because of sickness etc. the employer is required to pay for the return of the helper to her place of residence in her home country! ATTENTION TO THIS BECAUSE IT APPLIES TO THE TIME AND DATE A HELPER IS DONE WITH THEIR CONTRACT AND IF YOU LIVE IN A CITY ANYWHERE AWAY FROM THE AIRPORT THAT WOULD BE THE LAST LEG OF THE FLIGHT BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY, THE EMPLOYER "MUST" PAY ANY OTHER FEE TO GET YOU RIGHT BACK HOME, WHETHER BUS, TRAIN OR OTHER, AND DO NOT LET AN AGENCY SCHEDULE YOUR FLIGHT TO A MAJOR CITY IN YOUR COUNTRY AND LEAVE YOU STRANDED!

YES, SO MANY HAVE AND I'VE HEARD THE STORIES!

ITEM 16) The above items in the contract do not preclude (eliminate) the Helpers entitlements ( rights) under the employment ordinance of Hong Kong, the employee's compensation rights (ie, sick and vacation pay) or any other ordinances due a gainfully employed person!

OK, that covers contracts, now let me cover the situations unfortunately that many helpers in Hong Kong encounter!

I CAN NOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH THE FOLLOWING BUNCH OF INFORMATION I'M ABOUT TO CONVEY!

IF IN YOUR JOB AN EMPLOYER EVER TOUCHES YOU OR HITS YOU OR TWISTS YOUR ARM, YOU CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY! IF YOU GIVE AN EMPLOYER THE IMPRESSION THEY CAN DO THINGS TO YOU THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO, THEY WILL ALWAYS DO THEM AND IT COULD GET WORSE! ALSO, THE MAJORITY OF EMPLOYERS WILL ALWAYS PUSH THE LIMITS AS TO WHAT THEY EXPECT YOU TO DO. THEY WILL BREAK IMMIGRATION LAW IN A HEART BEAT AND NOT THINK TWICE ABOUT IT! KNOW THE LAW!

IN ANY EMPLOYMENT SITUATION WHERE THERE'S PROBLEMS, YOU'VE BEEN VERBALLY ABUSED, INTIMIDATED OR THREATENED, OR YOU KNOW YOU'VE BEEN WORKED ILLEGALLY HERE'S HOW TO HANDLE IT SMOOTHLY AND GET OUT OF THE SITUATION.

1st, I always recommend keeping evidence. If your employer is abusing you in any way verbally, put your phone in a pocket, even if you have to wear clothes that are no normally your work clothes long enough to digitally record their voice in English or Chinese. Be ready anytime anywhere. If it's inconsistent then any time you're going to be in their presence, just turn on the recorder and let it record until you can go to the bathroom if necessary just to reset it and erase a blank file and start again. I guarantee sooner or later you'll catch them verbally abusing you!

Also, a picture is worth a thousand words, if your employer is working you at a business, or at a residence that isn't the address on your contract, even in say the same building, take pictures of the place, the address if you can, etc. It can be used against them.

Whatever negative thing your employer says or does, the first chance you get in a conversation to mention it you say this to them.
Well madam/sir, I don't agree with you and I have an appointment, or will make an appointment with immigration and I will soon talk to them about your treatment of me, or the duties you have asked or required me to do and I will find out for myself the legalities of this situation. You can also say I know already that you have worked me illegally, (if they have) and I need to tell immigration about it because I am a very honest person and I don't like breaking any rules!


In any compromising situation, NEVER AGREE TO WRITE A LETTER ADMITTING YOU MADE A MISTAKE, OR LEFT EARLY FOR YOUR DAY OFF ETC. Hong Kong has no runaway rules, and an agency if you've left your employer early one day or something, it's not running away and don't believe some scumbag agency if they are telling you it is!

An agency will try to strike fear in you anyway they can, because if they represented you, they can get in trouble also for not giving you the truth and supporting you when things don't go right. But agencies can't be trusted. Use the language I wrote above to both employers and agencies and when you are in doubt about anything you tell the agency and the employer that you will get your advice from immigration on matters legal and illegal and if necessary report all parties to your consulate, immigration, the Office for Overseas Workers, and the Labor department if applicable!

These above words can send fear into the spine of not only your employer, but also an agency that is not supporting you! They will try to intimidate you and say you're to blame and if you say anything to immigration you'll lose your job or you'll get in trouble etc.

THIS IS A BOLD LIE BY THE EMPLOYER OR AGENCY TRUST ME! AS LONG AS YOU INSIST UPON TALKING TO IMMIGRATION, THE CARDS WILL SOON TURN IN YOUR FAVOR! THE EMPLOYER WILL START SAYING OH, NO THAT'S NOT NECESSARY, LETS START AFRESH BLAH BLAH BLAH!

Worse case scenario, they ask you to sign a letter or write a letter saying you'll do better and if you don't they can terminate you without pay!
Don't sign or write a thing, instead you say, oh, well after I speak to immigration about that I'll let you know!

That will be the last you hear about that believe me! Now, if you have not been able to get relief, this last option works every time and you follow through with it at all costs. I will say now that Hong Kong immigration people have dealt with all kinds of situations and they know when things are honest or not. Remember, your employer can lose the right to hire helpers if they are guilty of losing a helper 3 times also!

Generally if you as a helper can prove abuse or having been worked illegally, you are covered from having your next visa application rejected.
And I've know helpers who had to switch jobs 4 times and still were approved. Other legitimate excuses are marriage, or a termination because of an accidental pregnancy.

Here's the Hong Kong Domestic Helper FAQ link...  http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/faq/foreign-domestic-helpers.html

For more Immigration information and resources click here:  Hong Kong Immigration resources

Ok, so now, if no amount of talking resolves your situation, then you need to resign. A simple letter stating these facts are all that's needed. It's worded like this:

I (name) ________________________ contract number # _________________________ that was started on (date of contract beginning) do hereby give

my employer (name) __________________________________ address of ______________________________________ my:

                     * 30 day notice to resign with the last working day on the date of, ____/_____/_____                                                                         (count 30 days from the day you know you'll give them the resignation and list it as the end date)

  Reasons for resigning are as follows: I am regularly verbally abused, I have been threatened by my employer and here's how ______ etc. I am regularly having my character assassinated by ridicule and oppressive statements, I have been worked illegally regularly at another residence, at several other residences, at the employers business, whatever applies!

  signed (your signature) ___________________________________________

                      If you're really mad and have money then you can say:
                     * 1 day notice with payment in the amount of $____________________ (in lieu of the 30 days)

    signed (your signature) X __________________________________________________

You can create your own letter of termination or feel free to download the one at the bottom of the page I have attached here!

Now mind you, immigration also has a termination notice they'll want you to fill out also, but in either case the employers signature is not necessary and they don't have to agree with your leaving anytime!

If you need any advice feel free to contact me in Skype at smoothjazzm1 with website advice in the contact request, you may also contact me in facebook messenger at Les Lei https://www.facebook.com/les.lei.90 or in Whatsapp at +639261874868.

Other horror stories see this link: Helper Stories & Hints



 


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Mark Aldrich,
Feb 28, 2017, 6:29 AM
ĉ
Mark Aldrich,
Feb 28, 2017, 4:53 AM
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