Frequently Asked Questions

(I) Employment of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs)
(II) Employment rights and obligations upon termination of contract in general
(III) Others
   
(I) Employment of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs)
   
Q1:
What would be the applicable "minimum allowable wage" (MAW) for entering into a new standard employment contract with an FDH?
A1:

The current MAW for FDHs is $4,520 per month, and has been effective since 29 September 2018. This MAW is applicable to all standard employment contracts signed on or after 29 September 2018.

Contracts signed on or before 28 September 2018 according to the then prevailing MAW of $4,410 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) on such wage terms, provided that the applications reach ImmD on or before 26 October 2018. This serves to allow sufficient time for employers to send the contracts signed on or before 28 September 2018 to ImmD for processing.

 
Q2:
How can an employer and an FDH terminate their employment contract before it expires?
A2:

According to the standard employment contract, an employer and his/her helper alike may terminate the contract prior to its expiry by giving not less than one month's notice in writing or by paying one month's wages in lieu of notice to the other party.

An employer who fails to pay the statutory benefits and other payments due to the helper in accordance with the Employment Ordinance (EO) and the standard employment contract commits an offence.

 
(II)
Employment rights and obligations upon termination of contract in general
 
Q3:
What items of payment is an employer liable to pay to an FDH upon termination of the helper's employment contract?
A3:

FDHs enjoy the same protection under EO as do local employees. They are further entitled to the rights and benefits specified in their standard employment contract.

An employer who intends to terminate the employment contract of a helper is required to give the helper one month's prior notice in writing or one month's wages in lieu of notice as well as other termination payments, which include -

  • all outstanding wages;
  • payment in lieu of any untaken annual leave, and any pro rata annual leave pay for the current leave year;
  • payment in lieu of any untaken statutory holidays;
  • where appropriate, long service payment or severance payment; and
  • any other sum due to the helper in respect of the employment contract e.g. free return passage, food and travelling allowance
 
Q4:
How is annual leave pay calculated when an employer terminates the contract of a helper?
A4:

A helper is entitled to paid annual leave after serving every period of 12 months with the same employer. The helper's entitlement to paid annual leave will increase progressively from seven days to 14 days according to his/her length of service.

When the employment contract is terminated, the employer should give the helper payment in lieu of any annual leave not yet taken in respect of every 12 months' completed service. A helper with three but less than 12 months' service in a leave year (i.e. a period of every 12 months after the commencement of employment) is entitled to pro-rata annual leave pay.

 
Q5:
Under what circumstances should an employer pay severance payment or long service payment to his helper if he terminates the helper's contract?
A5:

An employer should pay severance payment to his helper if the helper has been employed continuously for not less than 24 months and is dismissed (or his/her contract is not renewed) by reason of redundancy.

An employer should pay long service payment to his helper if the helper has been employed continuously for not less than 5 years and is dismissed (or his/her contract is not renewed) by reason other than serious misconduct of the helper or redundancy.

However, an employer is not required to pay both long service payment and severance payment to the helper.

 
Q6:
How to calculate the amount of severance payment and long service payment payable to the helper?
A6:

Severance payment and long service payment are calculated as follows :

(monthly wages x 2/3) x reckonable years of services*

* service of an incomplete year should be calculated on a pro rata basis.

 
(III)

Others

 

Q7:
How can employers and helpers seek advice or assistance regarding issues of employment contract or the Employment Ordinance (EO)?
 
The Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department provides consultation service to assist employers and helpers in understanding the various employment entitlements. The division also provides free conciliation service to resolve claims under the Employment Ordinance (EO) or the employment contract.

If conciliation is not successful, the Labour Department will, at the request of the party concerned and depending on the claimed amount, refer the case to the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board or the Labour Tribunal for adjudication. Information on the EO can be obtained through the Labour Department website (http://www.labour.gov.hk) and Telephone Enquiry Service (2717 1771).