Answers worth sharing.

What do I do when I find out that the placement fee that I have been paying is illegal, and I should never have had to pay it? What do I say?

In Hong Kong, employment agencies  may charge placement or training fees to foreign domestic workers. These fees may not exceed 10% of the worker’s monthly salary.  However, many domestic workers have been scammed out of money by paying illegal or excessive placement fees.  If this has happened to you, your first step would be to talk to, or send a letter to, a representative of the employment agency that charged this fee.  They may or may not be willing to reimburse the fee.

If the employment agency will not reimburse you, you will need to file a claim with the Employment Agency Administration (EAA), a division of the Hong Kong Labour Department.  You will fill out a form/write a letter and the EAA will contact the Employment Agency. You also need to file a claim with your consulate. The Consulate will arrange a meeting with representative from employment agency.

What do I do when my employer tries to kiss me and touches my breast? What do I say?

The first thing a domestic worker needs to do is to stop the advance. This kind of behavior is unacceptable and is a valid reason for terminating the contract immediately. The employer will still owe you all your entitlements because the employer’s behavior is sexual harassment.

If you can, you should collect your belongings and leave the residence.

If you are sexually assaulted, call the police immediately.  They will take you to the hospital to treat you and collect evidence of the assault.  The police may possibly take you to the police station to make an official report. Your employer may be arrested.   The employer may deny that he sexually assaulted you.

Your employer will need to be contacted at a later date to collect your belonging, wages, and entitlements.  You should not go back to the residence alone.

If your employer refuses to pay what is owed to you, you will need to file a claim with the Hong Kong Labour Department.

What do I do when my employer terminates my contract, but then refuses to pay Wages in Lieu of Notice or any other entitlements? What do I say?

Both you and your employer have the right to terminate the contract by giving one month’s notice or by paying wages in lieu of notice.  If your employer is the one to terminate the contract and asks you to leave immediately, the employer owes to you wages in lieu of notice, along with your other entitlements.  If your employer offers to pay some of your entitlements, you can accept that money as long as you do not have to sign a false receipt.  Do not sign for anything you have not received, even if your employer promises the remainder at a later time.

If your employer refuses to pay what is owed you, after 7 days, you can file a claim with the Hong Kong Labour Department.

What do I do when my employer calls the police and accuses me of stealing something that I did not steal? What do I say?

The employer may make a false accusation of stealing if they want to terminate your contract but not want to pay you what you are owed.  Employers have even planted items with the worker’s belongings to make it look as if the worker stole the item.

First you should talk to your employer and state your innocence.  But if it is a false accusation, the employer already knows you are innocent. If the employer is intent on a false accusation, they may call the police.

If the employer truly believes you have stolen something, and calls the police, do not be afraid. If there is no evidence, the police cannot hold you.  Calmly and confidently tell the truth to the police officer.

If an employer calls the police, and has you arrested, you may consider your contract terminated, even though the words have not been spoken.  This is considered “constructive dismissal” by the employer. The employer still owes you wages and entitlements including wages in lieu of notice if he/she is unable to prove that you have committed theft.

If your employer refuses to pay what is owed to you, after 7 days you can file a claim with the Hong Kong Labour Department.

What do I do when my employer hits me because she thought I was too slow with my housework? What do I say?

The first thing a domestic worker needs to do is to stop the attack.  The domestic worker should never be hit.  Somehow, get away from the employer and call the police.  The police will come and take you to the Police Station to file an official report.  The police may also take you to the hospital so that the doctor can assess and get a record of any injuries.

You do not have to continue to work for an employer that has hit you.  Ill-treatment by an employer is a valid reason for terminating your contract.  Because of the employer’s behavior, you are still owed your entitlements. However, it is important to be able to prove that you have been subject to violence or ill-treatment by the employer for you to claim your entitlements.

After you have left the residence, you can contact the employer by phone to collect your belonging, wages and other entitlements.  Do not go back to the residence alone.  If possible, take a friend with you or seek the assistance of the police.

If your employer refuses to pay you your entitlements, after 7 days, you can file a claim with Hong Kong Labour Department.

What do I do if my employer terminates my contract, but then tells me to sign a statement saying that I was the one who terminated the contract? What do I say?

If your employer is the one to terminate the contract, the employer owes you wages in lieu of notice, along with your other entitlements.  If you terminate your contract without prior notice, you have to pay your employer wages in lieu of notice.  The reason your employer might ask you to sign something false like this is so that he/she does not have to pay you what he owes.  Do not sign anything false!

If your employer will not pay you your entitlements, after 7 days from the termination of the contract, you can file a claim with the Hong Kong Labour Department.

Additional Resources for Domestic Workers

Understanding Your Contract

Have another question?

Reach out to our team today and get the answers you need.