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Labour chief renews call for FDHs, employers to help contain spread of Covid-19

03 April 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

FDHs still flock to WorldWide Plaza in Central on Sundays as they need to send money home

Hong Kong’s top labor official has again urged foreign domestic helpers and their employers to agree on rest day arrangements ahead of the statutory holiday tomorrow, Apr 4, because of the Ching Ming Festival, and most workers’ regular Sunday off.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong made his appeal via a video message late on Thursday night, as he called on helpers and employers to join hands in helping keep the epidemic in check.

Lam thanked FDHs fo their contributions to Hong Kong society and appealed to them to observe social distancing in the fight against Covid-19.
 “The government has prohibited group gatherings with more than four people in public places. Offenders are liable to prosecution,” Law said.

“We fully understand that most helpers would like to meet their friends during their rest days. However, we are now at a critical juncture in our fight against Covid-19, and it is essential that all of us practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease,” the secretary said.

His warning came four days after the government forbid the gathering in public of more than four people, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The ban carries with it a maximum penalty of $25,000 fine and imprisonment of up to six months, although those who want to settle the charge outright can opt to pay a fixed penalty of $2,000.
 
Many Filipino helpers stayed away from Central on the first day the ban on public gathering took effect

Law also appealed to employers to understand the current special circumstances and discuss the rest day arrangements with their helpers by encouraging them to stay home for rest, or to take their rest day on weekdays instead of at the weekend.

“Employers are also reminded that it is against the law to refuse to grant a rest day or compel your helpers to work on a rest day without consent,” he added.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.


A wide range of publicity efforts have been undertaken by the government to drive home its message of keeping FDHs at home even on their rest day.

These include enlisting the help of consulates-general in convincing the workers to remain at home as much as possible, and putting up posters and distributing leaflets in major FDH languages with the same message.

In a separate advisory, the Consulate reiterated its stay-at-home appeal, saying that since Mar 27, three more Filipinos have been infected with the virus, raising the community’s total tally to 19.

“We appeal to the Filipino community in Hong Kong to stay at home whenever possible. Avoid crowded places when going out and follow recent regulation on social distancing that bans the gathering of more than 4 people in public places,” the PCG said in a post on its Facebook page.

At the same time, employers were urged to respect the rest day of employees who choose to stay at home.

The Labour Department has published some frequently asked questions and answers on rest day arrangements and relevant employment matters on its dedicated FDH portal (www.fdh.labour.gov.hk), for employers’ reference.

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