POLO: 30-Kg Luggage Allowance For HK Domestic Workers Should Be Enforced

Employment agencies have been reminded that Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong flying back to the Philippines should be granted at least 30 kilograms of luggage allowance.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office made the reminder after it received several complaints from Filipino domestic workers that their employers paid only for hand-carry luggage when buying one-way tickets back to the Philippines.

Under prevailing laws, employers of Filipino domestic workers will shoulder their one-way ticket from the Philippines to Hong Kong upon commencement of their employment contract, and another one-way return ticket to the Philippines. But while this ruling has generally been complied with, the provision of luggage allowance has been inconsistent.

The POLO pointed out that it is clearly stated in the “Agency’s Undertaking” that one of “duties and responsibilities” of an employment agency is to make sure that Filipino domestic workers are provided a “free baggage allowance of 30 kilos” for their flight home.

“Ensure that the air ticket provided by employers to terminated workers or those who are vacationing after the completion of the two-year contract carry a free baggage allowance of at least 30 kilos,” the undertaking, which employment agency owners are obliged to sign before receiving authority to recruit domestic workers, read.

In June, an employment agency in Hong Kong has been suspended after a domestic worker complained that her employer did not pay for her check-in luggage for her return flight.

“They [employment agencies] could get suspended over that $200 (luggage payment),” a source at POLO said, adding that when the standard employment contract was drafted, there were no budget airlines yet, so it was understood that luggage allowance comes with the airfare paid for by the employer.

“But now that we have budget airlines, and there is an option that the passenger would only have hand-carry luggage, there are employers who are choosing that option. That should stop,” the source added.