Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

Filipina DH who ate and slept in toilet wins 6 months’ pay from employer

02 March 2021

By The SUN 

One of the pictures shown by Enicito to the Tribunal to prove her case

A Filipina domestic helper who was made to eat and sleep in a toilet in her employer’s Happy Valley home, won a compensation of $27,780, representing six months’ loss of potential income, at the Labour Tribunal on Monday, Mar 1.

Grace Enicito, 32, who was helped by case officer Edwina Antonio from the Mission for Migrant Workers, spent close to six hours negotiating with her employer, Lau Ho-yan, who came with her husband, before striking a deal.

They then presented the proposed settlement to Presiding Officer Eleanor Yeung, who approved it, and got Lau to pay the agreed amount before the day ended.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Naawa na rin ako sa amo kong babae kasi mabait naman siya talaga, yung asawa niya ang talagang istrikto,” said Enicito, when explaining why she decided to settle. “Pero maigi din yun na nalaman nila na labag sa batas ang ginawa nila sa akin.” (I started taking pity on my female employer because she had been kind to me, but her husband was really strict. But it was also good for them to realize that what they did to me was illegal).

Enicito also said she had been nervous the whole time as it was her first time to be in court, and she just wanted the case, which had dragged on for five months, to finish.

She is now planning on wrapping up unfinished business, like filing a claim for a payout from her insurance in the Philippines for the time she was left jobless while pursuing her case, before she goes back home for good.

Call now!

The helper, who left her employer’s house less than two months after starting to work with her, had initially sought compensation of more than $140,000 for the remaining 22 months of her two-year contract, but Lau stood pat on not paying up.

But after being confronted with pictures of Enicito’s tiny sleeping space inside one of two toilets in her flat, and hints from Antonio that they would pursue the case all the way to the High Court, Lau agreed to settle for six months’ worth of pay.
Daytime shot of Enicito's 'room' with her breakfast on a plastic stool

Enicito, who arrived in Hong Kong on Aug. 21 last year, had earlier received one month’s salary in lieu of notice and six days of arrears in wages during negotiations at the Labor Department.

She moved into her employers’ 550 square-foot, 3-room flat last Sept 5, after spending 14 days in mandatory hotel quarantine.

When shown the space she was supposed to sleep and eat in, Enicito, who had previously worked in Saudi Arabia where she was given her own spacious room, knew there was something amiss, and sought advice from support groups.

She also tried to reason out with her employers, to no avail. Her employment agency, on the other hand, told her to bear with it because she would have to pay back her employers if she terminated their contract.

During the hearing of her case, the Filipina told officer Yeung that it was her employer who breached their contract and committed an illegal act by making her sleep and eat in the toilet.

She showed videos and photos, complete with dates and times, showing her narrow mattress placed right beside the toilet, and her meager breakfast placed on top of a small plastic stool which served as a table for her meals.

Lau, who is a school teacher, argued on the other hand that there was nothing wrong with the cramped toilet, and that her four previous helpers had stayed there without complaint. She said Enicito was luckier than many helpers in Hong Kong who slept in cupboards or on the kitchen floor.

The employer submitted her own photos of the toilet looking spic and span, and insisted it provided privacy for the worker. She also said the helper had signed three documents showing that she agreed to have the toilet for her room.


Yeung, however, reminded Lau that the agreements she and Enicito had signed were binding legal documents that could be challenged in the High Court.

When Enicito signified she was willing to take her fight to the High Court, the employer softened and offered four months’ pay as her final settlement. Enicito, however, refused to accept the offer.

Yeung gave the claimant and the employer time to try to work out a settlement outside the courtroom. When they returned after 3pm, they informed the officer that they had reached agreement on six months’ compensation.

Enicito served a notice of termination of her contract barely a month after moving into Lau’s flat. She said she had tried to get the couple to let her use a spare room to sleep in during the night, but they refused.

After she informed them of her decision to leave, however, the couple tried to make her reconsider by acceding to her request to use the spare room for sleeping, but Enicito said she was no longer interested.

On the evening of Oct 15, Enicito was forced to call the police after her male employer said he would take her to the airport the next morning for her flight back to Manila, and onwards to her hometown of North Cotabato. The Mission stepped in and rescued her. 


Don't Miss