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Maid who sold cooked food for employer settles for $10k

06 December 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao
Worker and employer settled their case at Labour Tribunal
All’s well that ends well for a Filipina domestic worker and her former employer, a local man, after settling their dispute at the Labour Tribunal on Dec 5.

A tearful Maribel Garcia embraced Hui Yiu-tak and his Filipina ex-wife in the lift on their way out of the Labour Tribunal building in Yaumatei after reaching a $10,000 settlement before Presiding Officer Isabella Chu.

But the settlement did not come easy.

About half an hour before they settled, Garcia faced Chu with a claim of $20,000 for unpaid rest days and statutory holidays. She was also claiming $10,910.79 in severance pay and the same amount as terminal pay.

Chu said both items were not valid because Garcia had resigned and Hui confirmed he had already hired a replacement. Hui was willing to settle for only $5,000.

Chu said Garcia’s only valid claim was for items A and B, or pay for unused rest days and statutory holidays, which the presiding officer had lumped together.

Garcia claimed she was not allowed by Hui to take a day off for the more than three years that she was in his employ because she had to sell cooked food that she and the employer had prepared to Filipinas who frequented a shopping center in Hung Hom.

In return, Hui paid Garcia 3% of their income from the sales. This went on until their relationship soured, and the helper resigned and left Hui’s home on Oct 11.

Chu warned Garcia and Hui they were both in breach of the condition of stay imposed by the Immigration on foreign domestic helpers.

“As a domestic helper, you can’t perform other jobs than stated in your contract. Because you consented to sell cooked food for your employer on your rest day, both of you were in breach of the Immigration conditions,” Chu said.

Chu told both parties that if they did not settle, she would send the case to trial and Immigration would be asked to investigate.

The presiding officer said their only option was to reach a settlement. She ordered a break so the parties could settle the issue by themselves.

In a short while, Garcia agreed to cut her claim to $10,000. Hui initially wavered, then agreed to pay the claim to settle the dispute once and for all. They then returned to court to inform Chu about their settlement.

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