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Lawmaker urges govt to help employers pay for helper’s quarantine

26 June 2020

By The SUN
Yung held a press conference to call  on government to help foot the bill for the helpers' quarantine 

New People’s Party lawmaker Eunice Yung has called on the government to put foreign domestic workers who will be arriving over the next few months in hotels, and help their employers pay for the cost.

Yung said more than 12,000 FDWs are expected to arrive in Hong Kong shortly, after being stranded in their home countries for months because of travel restrictions.

This could potentially cause a huge problem as many employers are not in a position to offer them space in their tiny homes for the mandatory quarantine.
“If the employers wish to ask for the quarantine arrangement, they have to pay for around $6,000 for the hotel fees, so I think the government should step in and give subsidies to the employers,” Yung said.

She also asked the government to help pay for the costs of testing FDWs for Covid-19, saying employers have complained about paying between $800 to $3,000 for each test.

Her call differed slightly from a proposal announced recently by a group of employment agencies, which urged the government to set up a quarantine center for all arriving FDWs.
The Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies said in a press conference on Jun 14 that the government must act now to prepare for the influx of thousands of helpers in the coming months.

HKUEA chairman Thomas Chan said the call was the first in a series of activities the union was planning to get the government to act on its proposal.

He said the centralized quarantine center should be located far from populous areas to avoid the risk of a contagion in case anyone among the new arrivals had the virus.
Agencies want the migrant workers put in a remote quarantine center like the Lady Maclehose holiday village
There has been no response from the government so far.

In the meantime, many FDWs about to fly into Hong Kong have been posting online about various problems they face on their arrival, with many saying their employers are refusing to pay for all, or some, of their quarantine expenses.

At least three had to be fed by volunteers from the Filipino community when they appealed online for food donations, saying their employers did not make arrangements for their meals while under quarantine, although they did pay for their hotel rooms.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

But this shouldn’t be the case. When mandatory home quarantine was imposed on all passengers arriving in Hong Kong on Mar 19, the Labour Department immediately made it clear that employers should open their homes to their domestic helpers who need to self-quarantine for 14 days.

If the employers choose another place for the quarantine such as a hotel, they should pay for the accommodation, and provide the helper with a food allowance for her meals during the entire 14-day stay.
The government press release said: “The employer is also reminded to comply with his/her obligations under the SEC (standard employment contract), including bearing the accommodation expenses of the FDH and providing food allowance to the FDH.”

Earlier, on Mar 17, he Philippine Overseas Labor Office issued an advisory to all employment agencies, saying the same thing: that employers should provide for all the needs of their helpers during the quarantine period.

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