Foreign Domestic Helpers' Corner Foreign Domestic Helpers' Corner

WELCOME MESSAGE

This portal provides information relating to employment of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong, including the policy on importation of FDHs, as well as the publication and publicity materials on the rights and obligations of FDHs and their employers under the labour laws and the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs. Both FDHs and their employers are encouraged to read the information in this website as well as the relevant materials before entering into a contract, or during the course of employment.

While it is not a requirement by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government that employers must recruit FDHs through, or FDHs to obtain employment from, employment agencies (EAs), it is a very common channel through which Hong Kong people employ FDHs. Respective home countries of FDHs may also have such requirement and they vary across countries. FDHs and employers are also encouraged to read the "Engaging an employment agency" section for the points to note when using the service of EAs. They may also use the search engine in the page for identifying EA(s) with valid licence in Hong Kong.

For matters relating to the eligibility criteria and procedures for applying for employment of FDHs, please visit the website of the Immigration Department.

WHAT'S NEW
    


IMPORTANT MESSAGES RELATED to COVID-19


Quarantine Arrangement for Foreign Domestic Helpers

Please click here for the latest press release.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Frequently Asked Questions relating to Foreign Domestic Helpers

Please click here to know more about the obligations and rights of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers under the Employment Ordinance and Standard Employment Contract, and the relevant information, in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

FDHs and employers may browse the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/) for health advice on prevention of pneumonia and respiratory infection and details of various anti-epidemic measures. The website contains information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu.

Last update on 26 September 2022

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme 

For vaccination booking and other details, please visit the designated website of the Vaccination Programme (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk). The website contains information in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Hindi, Sinhala, Bengali, Nepali and Urdu.


Last update on 12 August 2022

Other Related Information

Sickness Allowance and Employment Protection under Anti-Epidemic Measures

The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 comes into operation on 17 June 2022. The Amendment Ordinance aims at strengthening the protection of the employment rights and benefits of employees when they are absent from work due to their compliance with specific anti-epidemic requirements and encouraging employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. For details, please visit: https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/EAO2022.htm

Increase of Statutory Holidays

Starting from 2022, the Birthday of the Buddha will be a newly added statutory holiday under the Employment Ordinance. For details, please visit: https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/EAO2021.htm


2022.09.24 

Latest inbound control arrangement for foreign domestic helpers

The Labour Department (LD) today (September 24) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers that the Government will adjust the inbound control arrangement for overseas inbound persons with effect from September 26 (Monday).

...

The Labour Department (LD) today (September 24) reminded foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and employers that the Government will adjust the inbound control arrangement for overseas inbound persons with effect from September 26 (Monday).

An LD spokesman said, "FDHs who are coming to work in Hong Kong from September 26 onwards will be subject to the revised inbound control arrangement under the '0+3' model, i.e. they need not undergo quarantine at hotels upon arrival and will only be subject to medical surveillance for three days, followed by self-monitoring for four days. They will be subject to multiple tests during the medical surveillance period and the subsequent four-day monitoring period. During the medical surveillance period, FDHs can work at the employers' residence and go out to conduct daily essential activities of lower risk, e.g. taking transport, entering supermarkets and markets, etc. They will, however, be subject to Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass, and are not allowed to enter high-risk premises involving mask-off or group activities, as well as other premises requiring key protection (Note)."

In view of the conditions of individual families, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle approval for employers to choose to arrange FDHs to stay at licensed hotels or guesthouses to complete the three-day medical surveillance and the subsequent four-day self-monitoring. It is not necessary to make an application to the LD. If employers arrange FDHs to undergo medical surveillance and self-monitoring in licensed hotels or guesthouses, they should bear the accommodation expenses and provide food allowance to FDHs for that period. The list of licensed hotels and guesthouses can be found here. If an FDH cannot work in his/her employer's residence as a result of the employer's arrangement to have the FDH undergo medical surveillance and self-monitoring at a place other than the employer's residence, the employer should pay the FDH a sum equivalent to the remuneration that the FDH would have earned if he/she had worked for that period.

Besides, starting from September 26, FDHs coming to work in Hong Kong only need to present a proof of negative result of a rapid antigen test (RAT) conducted within 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure. Any proof of negative result of a nucleic acid test before departure is not required. FDHs still need to complete the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the Department of Health (www.chp.gov.hk/hdf) prior to boarding a flight to declare a record of completion of vaccination and result of pre-departure RAT.

Under the "0+3" model, Designated Quarantine Hotels (DQHs) will be cancelled. The day of arrival at Hong Kong with the first nucleic acid test conducted is considered as Day 0. During medical surveillance, FDHs need to conduct RATs daily and are required to undergo a nucleic acid test on Day 2. Upon receipt of a negative result of the nucleic acid test on Day 2, the FDHs' Vaccine Pass will be changed to Blue Code. FDHs are subject to self-monitoring during the subsequent four days upon completion of medical surveillance and should conduct daily RATs until Day 7. They are also required to take nucleic acid tests on Day 4 and Day 6.

As for FDHs arrived at Hong Kong before September 26 and are still undergoing quarantine at DQHs on the same day, they are allowed to leave on September 26 as arranged by the hotels. FDHs arrived at Hong Kong within three days (i.e. FDHs arrived at Hong Kong between September 24 and 26) will still be required to undergo medical surveillance and be subject to Amber Code restrictions. If FDH employers choose to let their FDHs continue to stay at the hotels to complete medical surveillance and self-monitoring, they may liaise with the hotels on their own. Employers are required to bear the accommodation expenses and provide food allowance to FDHs, as well as pay the FDHs a sum equivalent to the remuneration that the FDHs would have earned if they had worked for the periods of medical surveillance and self-monitoring at hotels.

For details of the above arrangement, please refer to the press release issued by the Government on September 24 (www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202209/24/P2022092400048.htm).

The dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) of the LD also provides information and useful links relating to inbound control arrangement for FDHs. Should there be enquiries on the inbound control arrangement for FDHs, please contact the LD through its 24-hour hotline at 2717 1771 (manned by 1823), by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk or through the online form on the dedicated portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk).

Note:
Persons under the category of Amber Code cannot enter the following premises subject to "active checking" of the Vaccine Pass and other premises in the capacity of a customer or visitor:

Premises regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) which are subject to "active checking" of the Vaccine Pass:

  • Premises required to use the QR Code Verification Scanner and is regulated under Cap. 599F, i.e. catering business premises (including bars or pubs), amusement game centres, bathhouses, fitness centres, places of amusement, indoor places of public entertainment, party rooms, beauty parlours and massage establishments, club houses, clubs or nightclubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises, indoor sports premises, swimming pools, cruise ships, indoor event premises, barber shops or hair salons and religious premises.
  • Premises required to inspect the Vaccine Pass visually as far as feasible, i.e. outdoor places of public entertainment, outdoor sports premises and outdoor event premises.

Other premises: residential care homes for the elderly, residential care homes for persons with disabilities, schools and designated healthcare premises.

2022.09.23 

Government announces lifting of compulsory quarantine requirement on arrival at Hong Kong

The Government announced on September 23 the lifting of compulsory quarantine requirement for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan starting from September 26, after analysing scientific data and striking a balance among factors such as transmission risks. The arrangement for inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao will be rationalised at the same time. The Government's goal is to minimise the inconvenience faced by inbound travellers due to quarantine requirements and allow room for Hong Kong to connect with the world as far as possible, while being able to contain the epidemic development.

...

The Government announced on September 23 the lifting of compulsory quarantine requirement for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan starting from September 26, after analysing scientific data and striking a balance among factors such as transmission risks. The arrangement for inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao will be rationalised at the same time. The Government's goal is to minimise the inconvenience faced by inbound travellers due to quarantine requirements and allow room for Hong Kong to connect with the world as far as possible, while being able to contain the epidemic development.

Starting September 26, the boarding requirements and quarantine arrangements for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan will be adjusted as follows:

  • Presentation of a negative nucleic acid testing report prior to boarding will no longer be required. Instead, a declaration of the negative result of a self-arranged rapid antigen test (RAT) conducted within 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure should be made via the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the Department of Health.
  • Boarding requirement of having completed vaccination for Hong Kong residents will be lifted. Non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 or above will still be required to be fully vaccinated or have obtained a medical exemption certificate before they are allowed to board a flight for Hong Kong.
  • "Test-and-go" arrangement will be implemented at the Hong Kong International Airport, i.e. inbound persons will not be required to wait for the test result at the airport after undergoing specimen collection for the nucleic acid test. They can take public transport or self-arranged transport to return to their home or their hotel of choice.
  • Quarantine arrangement upon arrival at Hong Kong will be changed to "0+3", i.e. no compulsory quarantine will be required. There will be three days of medical surveillance during which inbound persons are free to go out but are obliged to comply with Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass, followed by a four-day self-monitoring period, making it a 7-day observation period in total.
  • Nucleic acid tests at community testing centres, mobile testing stations or other recognised institutions on Day 2, Day 4 and Day 6 (the day of arrival is Day 0) will be required upon arrival at Hong Kong, supplemented by daily RATs from Day 1 to Day 7.
  • For inbound persons who are tested positive by nucleic acid tests or RATs, their Vaccine Pass will be converted to a Red Code. Their isolation arrangements will be aligned with that for local cases.

A Government spokesman said that the COVID-19 epidemic situation rebounded since June due to the Omicron virus variant. The daily caseload spiked from low three-digits to four-digits, while the more transmissible sub-lineage BA.5 has replaced the earlier sub-lineage BA.2 since August, quickly turning the epidemic situations severe, leading to over 10 000 daily confirmed cases in early September. To cope with the epidemic situation, regular services of the public healthcare system was cut down substantially. Nonetheless, with the concerted efforts of the public and the Government in fighting the virus, the number of confirmed, hospitalised, and critical cases and death were much lower compared to that recorded during the period between February and April. At the same time, the vaccination rate for two doses among the overall population in Hong Kong has also significantly increased from less than 70 per cent in the beginning of this year to more than 90 per cent so far. At present, the epidemic situation has peaked and is showing signs of subsiding, with the real-time effective reproductive number for local cases dropping below 1, demonstrating that the enhanced immunity shield at community level is able to ward off the spread of the COVID-19 virus. A series of precise prevention and control measures and measures putting targeted groups as the focus of protection implemented by the Government has also effectively reduced infection, serious illness and fatality of high-risk groups. There was no need for Hong Kong to tighten social distancing measures to a large extent as per previous instances, avoiding any impact on the daily lives of the public and socio-economic activities. In response to the latest data and development trends of the epidemic, the Government considered that Hong Kong is equipped with the conditions to relax inbound control measures and to resume the international connection on the premise of striking a balance among risks and economic impetus.

The spokesman said that after the implementation of "3+4" quarantine arrangements for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan since August 12, the daily average number of imported cases in actual recorded a downward trend despite a 20 per cent increase in the number of relevant inbound travellers. The proportion of imported cases has dropped from 4.7 per cent to 3.3 per cent, and the 7-day moving average of imported cases to total caseload has decreased from 4.7 per cent on August 15 to 1.9 per cent on September 15. According to observations in the past few weeks, it has been an effective measure to curb potential transmission by restricting inbound persons from entering high-risk premises that involved mask-off or group activities during the medical surveillance through implementation of the Amber Code arrangement under Vaccine Pass. Overall, under the relevant inbound control measures and the Red and Amber Codes arrangements under the Vaccine Pass, imported cases have not posed any impact on the local epidemic situation nor incurred any additional pressure on the local public healthcare system. The data above indicated that inbound control measures together with Red and Amber Codes arrangements are effective in reducing imported case risks and achieving the goal of the proper management of infection risks.

Details of inbound control measures to be implemented starting from 6am on September 26 (Hong Kong Time) are as follows:

Arriving at Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan
------------------------------------------------------------

(1) Boarding requirements

With the COVID-19 testing services in overseas places being scaled back, inbound persons may have difficulties in obtaining the required testing report prior to boarding for Hong Kong. Therefore, the pre-departure test for inbound persons from overseas places and Taiwan will be changed to an RAT (can be self-administered or by professional swab sampling) conducted within 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure. The relevant inbound persons should then declare the test result via the Health & Quarantine Information Declaration.

In addition, as the Government has standardised requirements for issuing Provisional Vaccine Pass (see separate press release), the boarding requirement for Hong Kong residents to be fully vaccinated will then be lifted. However, in order to avoid putting pressure on the local healthcare system once visitors are identified as confirmed cases, non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 or above arriving from overseas places are still required to be fully vaccinated (Note 1) before they are allowed to board a flight for Hong Kong.

Inbound persons will still be required to complete the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the Department of Health (www.chp.gov.hk/hdf/) in advance, including declaration of vaccination records and the results of pre-departure RAT. They are also required to present the green health declaration QR code generated upon completion of declaration (which can be a downloadable version of the QR code, a screen shot or a printout) at check-in for verification by airlines for boarding. The health declaration QR code will still be valid for 96 hours, i.e. inbound persons can submit the declaration form as early as three days before their scheduled arrival time in Hong Kong (for instance, a person arriving at Hong Kong on Monday may submit declaration form starting from Friday). They can then save the time by further updating the declaration after obtaining the negative result of a RAT.

(2) Arrangements upon arrival

Upon arrival at Hong Kong, the relevant persons will be required to register for undergoing a nucleic acid test by scanning the health declaration QR code. The system will issue medical surveillance notices, vaccination records and Provisional Vaccine Pass QR codes electronically. After having their specimen collected for nucleic acid testing, the relevant inbound persons may proceed with the normal arrival process. They can continue with immigration and customs clearance, claim their baggage and leave the airport by self-arranged transport, including taking public transport. In other words, inbound persons are no longer required to undergo an RAT to obtain a negative result before they can be released under the current "test-and-hold" arrangement. The relevant persons are subject to the Amber code restrictions.

(3) Amber Code restrictions during medical surveillance period and subsequent self-monitoring

Relevant inbound persons are not required to undergo compulsory quarantine, but will be under three days of medical surveillance, during which they are subject to Amber Code restrictions, and are not allowed to enter high-risk premises involving mask-off or group activities, as well as other premises requiring key protection (Note 2). They can conduct daily essential activities of lower risks, such as taking public transport, going to work, entering supermarkets and markets, etc.

For relevant inbound persons who are consecutively tested negative, medical surveillance and Amber Code restrictions on them will end at 9 am on Day 3 of arrival at Hong Kong. They will then be subject to a four-day self-monitoring period right afterwards.

(4) Testing arrangements

Inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan are subject to multiple tests after arrival at Hong Kong:

  • Day 0: nucleic acid test at the airport;
  • Day 2, Day 4 and Day 6: after obtaining a negative result of RAT on respective days, inbound persons should undergo nucleic acid test at a community testing centre or a mobile specimen collection station, or arrange a self-paid test by professional swab sampling at a local medical testing institution recognised by the Government; and
  • During medical surveillance and self-monitoring periods, inbound persons are subject to daily RAT until Day 7 of arrival at Hong Kong.

The handling arrangements for persons testing positive will be aligned with that for local cases, and their Vaccine Pass will be switched to Red Code. Relevant persons should provide information to the Centre for Health Protection through the online platforms (for nucleic acid tests or RATs). For further details, please refer to the webpage on Points to Note for Persons who Tested Positive.

(5) Transitional arrangement

For persons who arrived at Hong Kong before September 26 and are still undergoing quarantine at Designated Quarantine Hotels (DQHs) (i.e. persons who arrived at Hong Kong between September 23 and 25) on that day, they are allowed to leave as arranged by DQHs on September 26. Persons who arrived at Hong Kong within three days (i.e. persons who arrived at Hong Kong between September 24 and 26) will still be required to undergo medical surveillance and be subject to Amber Code restrictions.

Meanwhile, these persons will be required to undergo self-arranged nucleic acid tests and daily RATs in accordance with point (4).

Rationalising requirements for inbound persons from Mainland or Macao
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Government will rationalise concurrently the requirements for inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao who have no travel history of overseas places or Taiwan in the seven days prior to arrival at Hong Kong. As such, the Return2hk Scheme and Come2hk Scheme will be extended to cover all places in the Mainland and Macao with no quota restriction. Advanced application and nucleic acid test before arrival at Hong Kong are also not required. In other words, inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao will not be required to undergo home quarantine after arriving at Hong Kong. However, they will still need to undergo nucleic acid test on Day 2 and be subject to self-monitoring in the three days after arrival at Hong Kong. For persons who arrived at Hong Kong earlier and are undergoing home quarantine, they will no longer be required to undergo home quarantine from September 26 onwards and can then remove their electronic wristbands.

Furthermore, persons travelling from Hong Kong to the Mainland or Macao are still subject to the special testing arrangement to undergo an additional free rapid nucleic acid test prior to their departure via land boundary control points or the airport. Only those who received a negative result can continue with their journeys. To prevent the exportation of cases and to support the nation's anti-epidemic efforts, persons subject to Amber Code restrictions will not be allowed to undergo the relevant special nucleic acid test at land boundary control points or the airport, meaning that inbound person from overseas places or Taiwan are not allowed to transit to the Mainland or Macao within the three days upon arrival at Hong Kong.

The spokesman said, "With the efforts spent over the past months and thanks to the co-operation by members of the public, we are able to contain the epidemic effectively and at the same time maintain the operation of the public healthcare system. We did not need to resort to tightening social distancing measures and were able to create room for adjustment to inbound control measures. The Government will continue to tackle the epidemic development under the principles of science-based and targeted anti-epidemic measures, as well as the proper management of risks and citizen-focused facilitation. The Government will also adjust anti-epidemic measures as appropriate based on analyses of scientific data in order to avoid backtracking. It is our aim to facilitate activities and people flow essential to socio-economic recovery, so as to safeguard the wellbeing of citizens while reducing the disruption to normal social activities, with a view to achieving the greatest effect with the lowest cost."

The Government will gazette the relevant updated specifications under the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C), the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E), the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H), and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to effect the above measures.

Note 1:
For the purpose of inbound boarding requirements, fully vaccinated generally involves receiving two doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine (CoronaVac vaccine) or the Fosun Pharma/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty vaccine) at least 14 days before coming to Hong Kong. Persons previously infected with COVID-19 who have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine can be considered fully vaccinated. As for persons aged between 12 and 17 on the scheduled day of departure for Hong Kong, they may be deemed to have completed the COVID-19 vaccination course on receiving one dose of the Comirnaty vaccine.

For individuals who received COVID-19 vaccines in places outside of Hong Kong and have received the required dose(s) as stipulated in the List of COVID-19 Vaccines Recognised for Specified Purposes (listed vaccines) at least 14 days prior to arrival at Hong Kong; or for those who received a combination of doses of listed vaccines, receiving a combined number of doses of the listed vaccines equivalent to the recommended number of dose(s) of one of the listed vaccines received, whichever higher the number is applicable (except in the case that the recommended dosage of one of the listed vaccines received is "1"), they will also be regarded to have completed the vaccination course of the relevant COVID-19 vaccine.

For the purpose of boarding requirements, relevant persons who are fully vaccinated, as well as children under 12-year-old accompanied by them, can board for Hong Kong. In addition, persons who (i) are unfit for vaccination due to health reasons with relevant proof from a medical practitioner; or (ii) have received one dose of recognised COVID-19 vaccine, if they were certified by a medical practitioner that they were unfit to receive the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine because of health reasons after receiving the first dose of vaccine are also allowed to board flights for Hong Kong. The relevant medical certificate must indicate the relevant health reasons in English or Chinese.

Note 2:
Premises regulated under Cap. 599F which are subject to "active checking" of the Vaccine Pass:

  • Premises required to use the QR Code Verification Scanner and is regulated under Cap. 599F, i.e. catering business premises (including bars or pubs), amusement game centres, bathhouses, fitness centres, places of amusement, indoor places of public entertainment, party rooms, beauty parlours and massage establishments, club houses, clubs or nightclubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises, indoor sports premises, swimming pools, cruise ships, indoor event premises, barber shops or hair salons and religious premises.
  • Premises required to inspect the Vaccine Pass visually as far as feasible, i.e. outdoor places of public entertainment, outdoor sports premises and outdoor event premises.

Other premises: residential care homes for the elderly, residential care homes for persons with disabilities, schools and designated healthcare premises.

A person holding an Amber Code who works or study at those premises, or receives services at the designated healthcare premises, are not subject to the restriction under the Vaccine Pass. However, their entry will subject to any additional rules or requirements imposed by the employers or persons-in-charge of individual premises in accordance with their own needs.


2022.09.21

Measures to assist foreign domestic helpers and employers cope with COVID-19 pandemic extended

The Government today (September 21) announced that the measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended.

...

The Government today (September 21) announced that the measures to assist foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) and their employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended.

Extension of validity period of existing contracts

The Government will continue to enable employers to extend the validity period of the existing contracts with their outgoing FDHs. For all FDH contracts that will expire on or before December 31, 2022, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent for extending the employment period stated in Clause 2 of the Standard Employment Contract for a maximum period of six months, on the basis that such variation is mutually agreed upon by both the employer and the FDH concerned. However, applications for further extension of contracts which have already been extended under the previously announced flexibility arrangements will not be considered.

If arrangements cannot be made for a newly hired FDH to come to Hong Kong within the above-mentioned six-month extended period, and the employer needs to continue to employ his/her FDH beyond the six-month extended period, the employer should consider applying for a contract renewal with the existing FDH.

Deferral of return to the place of origin

Under normal circumstances, an FDH on a renewed contract with the same employer, or due to start a new contract with a new employer upon the expiry of an existing contract, may apply to the Immigration Department (ImmD) for deferring his/her return to the place of origin for not more than one year after the existing contract ends, subject to the agreement of his/her current employer or new employer.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government will further extend the current flexibility arrangement. If an FDH is unable to return to his/her place of origin within the aforementioned one-year period, he/she may, upon agreement with the employer, apply to the ImmD for a further extension of the limit of stay until the end of his/her contract such that he/she may return to the place of origin within that period. Such applications are acceptable within eight weeks prior to the expiry of the existing limit of stay of the FDHs (i.e. same as those for contract renewal).

The Government reminds employers and FDHs that the above flexibility arrangement must be mutually agreed between them, and that the requirement of FDHs returning to their place of origin remains in force. Employers should arrange for their FDHs to return to their place of origin within the extended limit of stay.

The Government will continue to closely monitor the situation and review the above measures and flexibility arrangements as and when necessary.

To tie in with the disease prevention measures and reduce the flow of people, the Government appeals to members of the public to submit visa applications for FDHs and further employment of FDHs through online means, including through the ImmD mobile application. Through the electronic services for visa application and an "e-Visa" arrangement implemented by the ImmD, members of the public can complete the entire process of the visa application, including application submission, payment and "e-Visa" collection. They may also enquire about the application status and submit supplementary documents and notification of premature termination of an employment contract via a dedicated "Online Services for Foreign Domestic Helpers" webpage set up by the ImmD at www.immd.gov.hk/fdh. The whole process does not require them to visit an office of the ImmD in person to go through the formalities, which is both convenient and time-saving, while reducing the need to travel and contributing to the efforts to fight the virus together.

The Government also urges employers and their FDHs to be mindful of the limit of stay and the passport validity of the FDHs and arrange for applications for visas and replacement of passports in advance.

For enquiries on employment rights and benefits of FDHs, please contact the Labour Department (LD) at the dedicated FDH hotline at 2157 9537 (manned by 1823) or by email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk. The dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk) set up by the LD also provides information and useful links relating to the employment of FDHs. For enquiries on FDH visa applications, please contact the ImmD by calling the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111 or by sending email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk.


2022.02.24

Employers should not dismiss foreign domestic helpers who have contracted COVID-19

The Labour Department (LD) today (February 24) reminded employers that they should not dismiss foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) who have contracted COVID-19 and should continue to observe the requirements under the Employment Ordinance (EO) and the Standard Employment Contract (SEC) amidst the pandemic.

...

The Labour Department (LD) today (February 24) reminded employers that they should not dismiss foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) who have contracted COVID-19 and should continue to observe the requirements under the Employment Ordinance (EO) and the Standard Employment Contract (SEC) amidst the pandemic.

An LD spokesman said, "Employers who employ FDHs should observe their obligations and requirements under the EO and the SEC. We would like to remind employers that they should not terminate an employment contract because the FDH has contracted COVID-19. Under the EO, an employer is prohibited from terminating the contract of employment of an employee on his/her paid sickness day, except in cases of summary dismissal due to the latter's serious misconduct. An employer who contravenes relevant provisions of the EO commits an offence and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $100,000. Besides, if an employer has breached the EO, he/she will not be considered eligible to employ an FDH for a period of time and his/her visa applications for FDHs will be refused. Employers are also reminded of possible violation of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) if they treat their FDHs less favourably (e.g. by dismissing them) because the FDHs have been infected with or recovered from COVID-19."

Where the EO is applicable, an employer should grant sick leave and sickness allowance to the eligible FDH in accordance with the EO if the FDH falls sick. Where a sick FDH has not accumulated sufficient paid sickness days to cover the period of his/her sick leave, the Government appeals to the employer to be compassionate and consider granting the FDH paid sick leave. In addition, according to the requirements in the SEC, employers should provide to their FDHs free and suitable accommodation as well as free medical treatment.

The spokesman continued, "FDHs assist families of Hong Kong to do household chores and look after the elderly and children. Their contribution to Hong Kong is significant. Currently, the number of FDHs has already decreased to about 340000 from the peak of about 400000 in January 2020 owing to the pandemic. Mutual support and understanding are all the more necessary in face of the pandemic. To meet the needs of local families, we must strengthen support and protection for FDHs in order to maintain Hong Kong as an attractive place for FDHs to work. The Government appeals to employers and FDHs to fight the virus together. Employers must not arbitrarily dismiss infected FDHs. Any FDH dismissed by the employer because of contracting COVID-19 may approach the LD for assistance."

FDHs and employers may call the FDH hotline at 21579537 (handled by 1823), send an email to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.hk or contact the LD through the online form on the dedicated Portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk). For information relating to COVID-19 and the DDO, employers may visit the Equal Opportunities Commission's website
(www.eoc.org.hk/en/news-and-events/covid-19-and-discrimination).