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DAB proposes 7-day stay for terminated workers, compensation to employers

03 September 2022

by Daisy CL Mandap


DAB wants FDHs who get terminated to remain in HK for only 7 days

Migrant support organizations have blasted at a series of proposals issued Thursday by the biggest political party in Hong Kong, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) which further curtails freedoms granted by law to foreign domestic helpers.

Among the more controversial proposals in an “executive summary” circulated by DAB is that which limits the stay of terminated FDHs to 7, instead of 14 days, and another that requires them to pay compensation for early termination, even if it is the employer who backs out of the contract.

The proposals were said to have been submitted to Chief Executive John Lee on August 30, with the hope that they could be included in his Policy Address next month.

DAB members present their proposals to the media (HK01 photo)

The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), which is made up of various FDH groups comprising various nationalities, blasted at what they called DAB’s “slave-like” proposals.

“The proposals include labelling all MDWs who exercise their legal rights to terminate their contracts early as “job hoppers, forcing them to “compensate their employers”, leave Hong Kong within seven days and ban them (from) applying for another job in Hong Kong for two years…are creating a slave-like class here in Hong Kong,” said the AMCB.

The reference to the two-year ban on workers whose contracts were prematurely terminated is not in the executive summary but was reportedly brought up by some DAB members who called a press conference where only local media representatives were apparently notified.


According to reports from that press conference, the DAB also wants FDHs who claim to have working experience to present their previous employer’s “evaluation and certification letter” for consideration by the new employer.

But even those who finish their two-year contracts are not spared from DAB’s definition of job-hoppers. In its position paper, the DAB says, “to combat job-hopping by FDHs, the contract shall ensure that FDHs must return to their place of origin upon completion of the contract.”

It suggested that the standard employment contract must provide that a FDH who takes up a new employment must produce a valid air ticket in her name to prove that she had returned to her place of origin before moving to the new employer.

Pindutin para sa detalye

DAB’s stern stance towards so-called “job hoppers” or those who supposedly terminate their contracts on a whim, appears rooted on their perception that FDHs have taken advantage of Immigration’s decision to relax the 14-day rule for terminated workers amid travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic.

Instead of seeing Immigration’s move as supporting employers who needed to hire an FDH immediately amid Hong Kong’s extended travel bans and other travel restrictions, DAB claims it gave FDHs the chance to move to employers who could offer them higher pay.

Xiao Weizhong, a member of DAB’s family affairs committee, cited the example of a FDH who reportedly quit her job after just two months, then moved to another employer in the same housing estate for a much higher pay.

But AMCB said allegations of job-hopping are purely a myth.

“MDWs (migrant domestic workers) come to Hong Kong to work and support their families back home. The process of getting a visa is long, expensive and challenging. This is why even when their working conditions are bad many MDWs will work to finish their contracts…” said their statement.

Contrary to DAB’s claim that the pandemic allowed FDHs to job-hop to secure better-paying and easier jobs, the AMCB said the crisis actually showed how vulnerable migrant workers are, as many were thrown out of their employers’ houses or neglected after coming down with the coronavirus.

“Yet no employers (have been) held accountable,” said AMCB.

Press for details

But, “infected or not, MDWs continue to serve and care for Hong Kong families especially children and the elderly throughout the pandemic. They should be respected, protected and recommended for the care they give to vulnerable communities in Hong Kong.”

DAB’s “outrageous” proposals would leave FDHs even more vulnerable, unable to protect themselves or stand up for their basic rights, said AMCB.

AMCB leaders in one of their protests for better working conditions for MDWs

Not all of DAB’s proposals were controversial, however, and could be seen as actually beneficial to migrant workers if implemented fairly, such as:

(1)   The establishment of a Foreign Domestic Helpers Authority which will regulate the business practices of employment agencies and oversee the processing of FDH contracts;

(2   (2)  Requiring all registered EAs to be accredited by the consulates of the sending countries

(3   (3)   Revise the Code of Practice for EAs so the fees that they are allowed to charge are set out more clearly; 

(4   (4) Establish a rating system for EAs;

(5   (5) Regulate the boarding facilities for FDHs;

(6   (6) Provide training courses for FDHs and employers;


       (7)   Limit the amount of loan that FDHs can take from lending companies to no more than ice their monthly salary;

(8   (8) Set up an information website specifically for employers and improve services for FDHs, like making the Labour Department’s hotline available to them 24 hours a day, as well as a one-stop online services that provide multi-language options;

(     (9)  Set up FDH centres across the city, which will provide them a place for gathering and recreation on their days off.

A key proposal is to provide tax breaks to employers for their expenses in hiring FDHs, such as for medical examination in HK, mandatory training courses in their home countries, and for “the total amount of salary paid to FDHs.”
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