Does my new helper get the day off?
The guidelines about helpers and their statutory holidays off can be a bit tricky. Since we’ve often seen the laws get misinterpreted, especially in relationship to new helpers and the three month period, we wanted to provide you with the scoop.
What the law says:
Since reading labor law isn’t always straightforward, here’s our concise and rephrased version of the law:
- All Hong Kong domestic helpers, regardless of how long they’ve worked for their employer, are entitled to the 12 statutory days off a year
- Helpers who have worked for their employers for less than 3 months are still entitled to receive the day off, but the difference is that you aren’t required to pay them
In summary: The day off is not optional, but it’s up to your discretion whether or not to deduct that day’s pay from your helper’s monthly salary.
What if I need her to work on a statutory holiday?
The law also gives instructions for that situation. It is permissible to switch her statutory holiday to another day off in lieu of the stated holiday, as long as you follow these two government-mandated courtesies:
- Provide her at least 48 hours notice
- Grant her a substitute day off, within 60 days before or after the statutory holiday
Can I pay her to work on a statutory holiday, if she agrees to it?
As tempting as it may be, the law prevents employers from paying their helper in lieu of giving them a day off. This holds true even if that’s what the employer and/or helper prefers.
Happy (statutory) Holidays!
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Want to know more about the law? Read the Hong Kong government’s laws about domestic helpers (PDF)