Domestic helpers deserve to know their rights and responsibilities. With many of them abused and exploited, Helpers for Domestic Helpers, a group advocating for the welfare of domestic helpers in Hong Kong has compiled a list of dos and don’ts for the benefit of household service workers.
- Keep accurate records of wages you received, annual leave you have taken, and statutory holidays and rest days you were not allowed to take.
- Keep Records of any deductions from your salary including dates, amounts and reason for deductions. Ensure that they are noted in the salary receipts that you sign.
- Keep a copy of any documents you sign including receipts, written agreements, letters and statements.
- Notify the immigration and Labour Departments in writing if you are being underpaid, abused, or ill treated. Keep copies of your letters and the departments’ written reply.
- Call the police immediately if you have been threatened of physically harmed. Seek medical attention if you are injured and keep copies of medical records. If possible, photograph injuries.
- Keep a diary of ill-treatment, abuse, or violations of your contract by your employer including dates, times, and places of the incidents.
- Exercise your right not to say anything if you are being asked to give a statement to the police or immigration authorities in relation to any criminal accusation against you.
- If you do give a statement to authorities, ask for an interpreter who speaks your language and ensure that the written statement is accurate before you sign it. Make sure you are provided with a copy of your statement.
- Don’t sign any blank pieces of paper; these could be filled in later with incorrect information that can be used against you.
- Don’t allow yourself to be coerced into signing something that is false or that you do not understand. It can be used as evidence against you and it is difficult to prove that you signed against your will.
- Don’t sign any receipt for money that you have not received.
- Don’t sign an incomplete or incorrect receipt; always check that the amount and date are written correctly.
- Don’t let anyone else use your passport or contract to take out a loan. You may end up being responsible for the loan if the borrower fails to pay.
- Don’t confess to false accusations of criminal acts, mistakes or misconduct.
Source: Helpers for Domestic Helpers