Monday, April 8, 2024

Why Hong Kong Typhoon Is Bad News for Domestic Helpers

More OFW Updates

Domestic workers in Hong Kong are typically responsible for home duties, childcare, and elderly care. Domestic helpers frequently live with the families for which they work, and their jobs include cleaning, cooking, laundry, and providing support in daily tasks, allowing families to manage their homes.

How Hong Kong typhoons impact life in the city?

- Advertisement -

The typhoon season in Hong Kong lasts from May to November, with peak activity from July to September. Typhoons, which cause high winds, torrential rain, and sporadic disruptions to daily life, can have an impact on the city during this time. Hong Kong has special labor regulations and standards governing work arrangements during typhoon warnings, outlining when enterprises, including domestic households, should suspend operations and when employees may be compelled to remain at their jobs.

Typhoons can have a substantial influence on Hong Kong’s way of life, causing school and office closures, public transit problems, and the necessity for residents to prepare for potential damage. Domestic workers may suffer difficulties as a result of their live-in arrangements, such as being compelled to stay with their employers during typhoons, which limits their movement and perhaps affects their capacity to attend to personal affairs.

Live-in arrangements for domestic helpers

Domestic workers in Hong Kong frequently have live-in arrangements with the families for whom they work. Because of their proximity, helpers can easily provide daily assistance with domestic tasks, childcare, and senior care, fostering a culture of close collaboration and shared duties.

However, domestic workers living with families in Hong Kong may encounter barriers such as restricted mobility and interruptions to their daily work routines, as well as potential constraints in attending to personal matters due to the demands of their live-in responsibilities, during typhoons.

- Advertisement -

On a typical day, domestic workers adhere to a rigid work plan that runs like clockwork. They may be in charge of preparing breakfast, organizing the household, and assisting with school drop-offs or other family requirements in the morning. Cleaning, laundry, food shopping, and meal preparation are common duties throughout the day.

Domestic workers may also perform childcare or eldercare chores, such as assisting with homework, responding to the needs of youngsters, or assisting older family members. In the evening, they may make dinner, supervise bedtime procedures, and conduct other home activities as needed to keep the household running smoothly.

How typhoons impact domestic helper routines?

Typhoons may have a significant negative impact on work and public services in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Observatory issues typhoon signals, with higher numbers indicating increased strength.

Businesses, schools, and government offices, for example, often close when Typhoon No. 8 is issued. Work, schools, and government offices may close at certain signal levels, and public transportation, including buses and ferries, may be suspended.

- Advertisement -

Residents frequently stock up on necessities, and businesses temporarily close. Strong gusts, heavy rain, and severe floods may hit the city, causing property damage and interruptions to daily life, particularly for domestic workers.

A couple waits for the rain to stop in the Central district of Hong Kong during a thunderstorm caused by Typhoon Kalmaegi on September 16, 2014. Hong Kong was shuttered on September 16 as a powerful typhoon swept past the city, bringing strong winds and rain that caused flight disruptions and forced the closure of the stock market and container ports. AFP PHOTO / XAUME OLLEROS

Ironically, workers and students often feel relieved once the Hong Kong Observatory issues signals 8 or 10 that trigger the suspension of work and school for safety purposes. This unexpected extra day off from work or school allows them to engage in non-work activities such as watching streaming videos or podcasts, playing board games, or catching up on sleep.

But this also means stay-at-home members of the family require adjustments to domestic helper routines.

  • Children off from school: With schools closed, employers may want more help from domestic workers to care for their children during the day. Domestic workers frequently take on responsibilities such as childcare, homework assistance, and keeping children engaged during school closures.
  • Employees at home: When workplaces close or work-from-home arrangements are implemented during typhoon warnings, employers may encounter disruptions in their work schedules and productivity. This might also mean more requests for domestic workers, such as preparing special meals and interfering with their duties, such as vacuuming the living room where employers are temporarily performing office work or watching television.
  • Extended work hours: Domestic workers may be needed to work extra hours during school and office closures due to typhoons, as they aid in managing household tasks and caring for children throughout the day. Domestic workers may face a higher workload and stress as a result of this.
  • When a typhoon falls during a helper’s day off: When a typhoon strikes on a domestic helper’s day off in Hong Kong, it might cause anxiety. The helper may decide not to leave home due to public transportation suspensions or safety concerns outdoors. Employers should offer flexible arrangements in such instances.

So while Hong Kong’s workers and students return to stay home during a typhoon warning, free from additional tasks in the office or assignments in school, domestic workers continue to work at an even more intense pace as they need to deal with things to do while employers and children stay indoors.

Managing employee-helper relations during typhoons

Clear communication is vital for maintaining a positive employee-helper relationship during stressful situations such as typhoons in Hong Kong. Employers should maintain open communication, express understanding about anticipated issues, and plan for contingencies together, assuring the well-being and safety of both sides. Flexibility, empathy, and mutual support all help to establish a strong working relationship in these challenging circumstances.

- Advertisement -
Email Newsletter
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Updates

Pinoy Royal Caribbean Cruise Staff Allegedly Installed Hidden Cameras in Bathrooms, Suspected of Spying on Guests

A Royal Caribbean cruise staffer is suspected of concealing cameras in passenger cabin restrooms to spy on visitors, especially...
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -
error: Content is protected !!