Hiring domestic helpers has been the done thing throughout the expat world, particularly as working hours have increases and time spent at home has reduced. Whether you are looking for childcare, a cleaner, dog walker, house sitter or a mixture of everything all in one package, here is our advice for hiring domestic help in Hong Kong.
Many expat websites and forums have a classified section (like The Expat) where you can find or place an advertisement for domestic help. Many people rely on word of mouth, however. Ask around colleagues, friends and other expats to see if they recommend a particular person or agency. Using an agency might be worth considering, especially as they will note your preferences and intend to match you with the right person for your domestic situation. AsiaXpat has a huge database of domestic helpers, which you can access for a small fee.
Bear in mind, that the government of Hong Kong does have some restrictions on employing foreign domestic workers. You can check out the full list here, but the most important points to take into account are below:
- You must be financially capable of employing help.
- You must be able to provide a contract. This must fulfill certain requirements and follow a specific format, all of which you can find on the relevant government site.
- The help should only be contracted for domestic duties, cannot work for another person during their employment and you must be prepared to let them reside in your home.
- If your domestic help requires assistance with their visa and work permit, you must be prepared to help.
It is of course a good idea to interview a shortlist of candidates before deciding on who you want to work in your home. An idea of some questions could be as follows:
- Situational questions, such as ‘what would you do in the case of…’ always work well.
- In what area does your candidate have the most experience? This could be in childcare, petcare, cleaning or looking after elderly people. Make sure this fits with your needs.
- Are they able to cook according to dietary requirements, needs and for large amounts of people if required?
- Do they have any qualifications like first aid, food hygiene, foreign languages etc?
- How familiar are they with Hong Kong and the area in which you live?
- Are they able to organise the home themselves or is it necessary to provide a schedule?
- How has their experience been in prior households?
Remember, to ask for references!
Organizing the schedule of your domestic help need not be a problem either. However, it is a good idea to have this list prepared before interviewing, so you can give your candidates an idea about what to expect. Some ideas could be:
- Washing, drying and organizing clothes.
- Cleaning the home, including vacuuming, washing floors, dusting, changing sheets, cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen, as well as any outdoor areas.
- Pet care. Check first that this is within your candidates’ area of expertise.
- Child care, including picking them up and dropping them off at school, kindergarten or clubs.
- Car washing.
- Grocery shopping and cooking.
Once you have selected your candidate, check out this guide on employing domestic help. Keep in mind that it is stipulated in law that you must pay your employee HKD$100 per day in food and travel allowance. This is the minimum, so play fair and keep in mind that it is legally your responsibility to do this. If you decide to provide food for your employee, this has to be free of charge. You should also be aware that you are expected to explain all the duties that your domestic help is required to do. It is also illegal for you to keep the personal documents of your employee, and they must present you with an invoice for any costs incurred which you should then reimburse. There are many more obligations for both employer and employee, so be sure to go over them with a fine toothcomb before beginning any arrangement.
Again, make sure that the contract provided to your employee is correct and fulfills all the necessary requirements under Hong Kong law.
Is there anything else you would add to the list when hiring domestic help? Comment below with your suggestions!