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Maid settles case vs employer for 8 years for $32k

08 July 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic helper settled for $32,400, half of what she was claiming for long service and other payments from her former employer of eight years,  at the Labour Tribunal today, July 8.

Rubilyn Raymundo said she agreed to accept the amount from  Chu Wing-wai to avoid a protracted trial that presiding officer Chan Lo-yee said could take up to nine months.

Raymundo, who has since found a new employer, was claiming severance pay, arrears in wages, air ticket and travel allowance but did not specify the amount.  She only said after the hearing that she got half of her total claim.

Chu said at the start of the hearing that all he was prepared to offer his former helper was $30,000 and nothing more.

Raymundo, asked by Chan for a background of the dispute, said she had finished four contracts with Chu, but she was fired on Jan 19 this year, eight days after he failed to return from a mandatory vacation to the Philippines.

She said she would have wanted to work further for the employer after her fourth contract. “But I am aware they don’t need me anymore,” the helper said.

Raymudo said she had sent a Whatsapp message to Chu’s wife, as she used to do, to inform her that her arrival would be delayed due to the eruption of Taal Volcano.

But she said Mrs Chu did not reply because the couple was already looking for a new maid. 

She was able to fly back to Hong Kong on Jan 14.

Giving his side of the dispute, Chu explained why he did not renew the helper’s contract: 
“The reason is twofold: in June and December 2019, she notified us that somebody was going to employ her. In December 2018, she strongly asked me to dismiss her. She told me she did not want to work for me anymore.” 

Chu said that last June, Raymudo told him she was going to work in Canada for $10,000 a month. Last October, she told him she was moving to an employer in Discovery Bay. Then, one day, she sent him a message saying she still wanted to work for him. But when he arrived from work that evening, she reportedly told the couple she would take her annual leave from Dec 18 to Jan 11 at her own expense.

Raymundo took that leave but did not return on Jan 11. She did not contact Chu, almost pushing the couple to make a “missing person report” to the police, the employer said. She returned on Jan 14 but did not show up.

Chu said he did not want to go beyond his $30,000 offer.

The presiding officer warned both parties a trial could take six to nine months if they did not settle, and both would be losers.

He told them to discuss a settlement. When they returned to the courtroom, they had agreed on $32,400. 

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