Minimum wage increase effective today

Here's an excerpt from the Labour Department announcement:

The Government announced today (September 27) that the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong will be increased by 2.4 per cent, from $4,520 to $4,630 per month.

  “Under the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs, employers are required to provide FDHs with food free of charge. At present, the vast majority of employers provide free food to FDHs. Employers may, however, choose to pay a food allowance in lieu. The food allowance will be increased by $46 (or 4.3 per cent) from not less than $1,075 to not less than $1,121 per month.

  The new levels of the MAW and food allowance will apply to all FDH contracts signed on or after tomorrow (September 28).”

https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/news/press20190927.htm

What did you expect???

Peter Bregman in his excellent book “4 Seconds” writes:


When I coach executives or mediate conflicts between leaders, each person is always amazed at how the other people behave. This has led me to a very simple conclusion: the problem is not us, and it’s not them. The problem is our expectations.

Hong Kong people expect Filipino helpers to behave in a certain way, and Filipino helpers expect HK employers to behave in certain ways, and both are surprised when the other doesn’t behave in the way expected. Most of the burden of adjustment falls on the Filipino employee, but if the relationship is going to work - then the HK employer also needs to adjust his/her expectations.

The next time your employee acts in a way that you don’t understand - pause to take a deep breath, and instead of getting angry or acting out in frustration - choose to be curious. Ask “can you tell me more about what you were thinking when you did that?” When we suspend judgement and use curiosity - we can begin to understand another person’s culture and see things from their perspective. Once we see things from their perspective we will know how better to communicate our expectations to them. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it’s also totally worth it. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

When you hire a mother

Mother pinning award on her child

Most of our customers are couples expecting their first or second child and they naturally want to hire a woman who is  "married" and "has kids". So it is no surprise that most of Arrow's helpers have children under 18 years of age.  I conducted a short poll on our webpage and more than 90% of the respondents have children under 18 years of age. Our poll targeted mothers, so pure singles did not respond. Still, we know that great majority of helpers deploying through Arrow are mothers. I began thinking more about this after one of our helpers resigned her job. Her employer liked her very much and she also liked her employer. She resigned because she had lost touch with her 12-year-old daughter and felt that she had to go home and check to make sure her daughter was okay.  I began to ask myself "what effect does the Hong Kong work schedule have on mothers who have left children behind in the Philippines? Is there anything an employer might do to help them keep their family ties strong? Have you ever thought "My helper is also a mother - when does she talk to her children?" "How does she keep her family ties strong?" Here's what we've learned - 

children under 18 pie-chart.png

How often do you speak with your kids?

Exactly 1/2 of respondents connect with their kids every day. They use Facebook messenger, Skype, Viber, etc. Some ladies I know get up at 4 a.m. daily to talk to their kids before they leave for school. They then go back to bed for a while and arise again to take care of their employers' children. Their commitment is amazing. The fact that 1/2 of respondents can contact their kids every day is, I hope, an indication that we have customers who are sensitive to the needs of their helpers and flexible enough to give them time each day to call their children. I wish I had asked the question "How often would you like to speak to your children?" I wonder about the other 50% - would they speak to their kids more if they could?

Most respondents connect with their children on a daily basis

Most respondents connect with their children on a daily basis

What is the best time of day to contact your children?

Most respondents (87%) told us that the best time to contact their kids is between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Only 13% would prefer to talk to their children from  10 p.m. - 6 p.m.  Unfortunately the prime times for helpers to contact their children are also busy times for employers and their children. The helper who takes good care of her employer's children may end up losing touch with her own kids.

best timepie-chart.png

What should I do? 

The best time for your helper to talk to her children is during work hours... so what should you do? If you are super strict and won't let her contact her kids during work hours then she may lose touch with them. If she loses the connection with her kids - the chances of her resigning will increase. So what should you do?

Talk to her about her family needs

Discuss this issue with your helper? Ask her "When is the best time for you to talk to your kids? 2nd best time? 3rd? How long do you need to talk to your kids every day? 15 min? 1/2 hour? etc. Tell her what will and what won't work for you. If you agree to a time during work hours then make a clear agreement with her about when she will talk to her family and for how long.  Afterwards occasionally monitor the situation and if you find she is not keeping to the agreement remind her about the agreement she made and tell her you that you expect her to abide by your agreement. 

If your helper is able to keep strong ties to her family, then she will feel confident to continue working here in Hong Kong. If she has an employer who remembers that she too is a parent who loves and needs to stay in touch with her kids, then she will stay loyal and will hopefully continue to serve your family for many years. 

Arrangement of work and holiday in times of typhoons and rainstorm

typhoon 2.png

Hong Kong is frequented by tropical cyclones (commonly known as “typhoons”) and rainstorms during the summer months. It is essential for employers and foreign domestic helpers(FDHs) to set out reasonable and practicable rest / work in the tropical cyclone warning (hereinafter referred to as "typhoon warning") or rainstorm warning arrangement. This helps to prevent unnecessary disputes and confusion, maintain good employer-domestic helper relationship.
 


What should an employer do?

Employers should consult and involve FDHs in working out prior work arrangements and contingency measures for typhoon signal number 8 or above or black rainstorm warnings. *

Typhoon affected period

If the Observatory issued a typhoon signal number 1 or 3 and announced that it had the opportunity to switch to the No. 8 typhoon on the day of the FDH’s holiday, the weather condition would continue to deteriorate. The employer should consider one of the following possible arrangements:

1.advise the FDH not to go out for safety reasons, take the holiday at home and rest.

2. cancel the holiday, but work. Employer will give ee holiday replacement, or pay FDH for working in the holiday.

3. FDH still goes out for holiday.

 

1. The employer should advise the FDH not to go out for safety reasons, take the holiday at home and rest.

Rest at home also prevent the risk that the FDH may ask to stay outside because of the problem of traffic.

If the FDH agrees to rest at home, the employer shall not ask the FDH to work on the rest day. <<Employment Ordinance>> says the employer should not ask the FDH  to work during the rest day. Unless the FDH volunteer to at rest.

As FDH may not be able to go out under such weather conditions, employers should also provide food and drinking water at home for FDH’s consumption where appropriate.

2. The employer can also discuss with the FDH, if she agrees to cancel the rest day, to work.

If the FDH agrees, the employer would pay wages, or give a separate rest day. Employers may consider giving typhoon or rainstorm allowances as an encouragement if your FDH are willing to work in times of typhoons and rainstorms.

Provide employees with adequate facilities and equipment such as safety helmets and raincoats to ensure their safety at work.

3. FDH still goes out for holiday

If you choose to let your FDH to go out for holiday under a possible typhoon No. 8, you should consider to let her leave home before the typhoon warning signal is no. 8 is issued (public transport services are still working) and understand that she may not be able to come on time due to actual difficulties. Be flexible.

The employer should provide the FDH the urgent contact number, so FDH can inform the employer immediately if she cannot come on time because of any reason.

During the rainstorm

When the black rainstorm warning is in effect, the road may be heavily flooded and the weather is bad. For the sake of the safety of the FDH, the employer should ask the helper to rest at home until the Black Rainstorm Warning is canceled. Unless the parties have agreed in advance of the relevant work arrangements.

* Employers may refer to t<<The Code of Practice under Typhoon and Rainstorm Warning>> to formulate the work arrangements and contingency measures for Typhoon Warning No. 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning. For more information, please visit the following website: http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/wcp/Rainstorm.pdf

If the employer has further question, please contact the Labor Department at 2718 1771 (this hotline is available from "1823") on the Labor Department's website: http://www.labour.gov.hk

 

 幼 兒 照 顧 服 務 Child Care Services 

                                
社會福利署非致府機構提供多元化的幼兒照顧服務,以支援一些因工作或其他原因而暫時未能照顧子女的父母。這服務也可舒緩僱主因外傭辭職/ 新外傭未能及早到港,引致沒人照顧嬰幼兒的壓力:
http://www.swd.gov.hk/tc/index/site_pubsvc/page_family/sub_listofserv/id_childcares/


    
The Social Welfare Department in Hong Kong provides Child Care Services to assist parents who cannot take care of their children because of work or other reasons. This services can reduce the stress of employers if your existing helper resign/ new domestic helper cannot come early.   

For detail, please click the link below and read:
http://www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_family/sub_listofserv/id_childcares/

外傭申請中國旅遊簽證的手續 Requirements of Supporting Documents for Domestic Helpers Applying for Visas to China

常聽到僱主查詢:"若想幫我的外傭申請去中國的旅遊簽證,應怎辦?”若這也是你的關注,可登入以下網頁(清楚說明提交申請時所需的文件): 
http://www.ctshk.com/visa/chinaVisa.htm#

It is common for employers to ask, "How to help my domestic helper to apply for visa to China?" The link below states clearly the documents required when submit the application:
http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/eng/vtc/t1202489.htm

Child Care, First Aid & CPR Course

There is a 11 hour course is for domestic helpers who care for your babies and young children. The course covers Child Care, First Aid & CPR and is held in a real home so that all safety scenarios in your helper’s exercises are in realistic situations.

有一個11小時的課程,是為裝備你的菲傭照顧你的寶寶和幼兒而設。該課程涵蓋幼兒護理、急救和心肺復蘇術。


詳情請登入以下網頁For detail, please click:
http://thefamilyzone.hk/courses/helpers-child-care-first-aid-cpr/