‘Ensure 30-kilo luggage allowance for FDHs’

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Chek Lap Kok

THE Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has reminded employment agencies to ensure that Filipino domestic workers should have a at least 30 kilos” of luggage allowance when they fly back to the Philippines.

The POLO pointed out that it is clearly stated in the “Agency’s Undertaking” that one of “duties and responsibilities” of an employment agency is to make sure that Filipino domestic workers are provided a “free baggage allowance of 30 kilos” for their flight home.

“Ensure that the air ticket provided by employers to terminated workers or those who are vacationing after the completion of the two-year contract carry a free baggage allowance of at least 30 kilos,” the undertaking read.

Employment agency owners sign the undertaking before they are accredited by the POLO. The POLO said violating this provision could lead to their suspension.

A source at the POLO said in June that they suspended an HK employment agency after a domestic worker complained that her employer did not pay for her check-in luggage back to the Philippines.

A source said the POLO was being strict after receiving many complaints from Filipino domestic workers that employers were paying only for hand-carry luggage when buying their plane ticket back to the Philippines. She did not identify the suspended agency.

“When they came here to Hong Kong, our domestic workers have their luggage with them. So, they will go home only with their hand-carry bag?” the source said.

She said the employment agencies should remind employers to pay for the luggage allowance of domestic workers when they go home or else these agencies would also be suspended.

“They could get suspended over that $200 (luggage payment),” the source said.

“When the standard employment contract was formulated, we did not have budget airlines and so it was understood that buying an airline ticket also included the luggage,” she said.

“But now that we have budget airlines, and there is an option that the passenger would only have hand-carry luggage, there are employers who are choosing that option. That should stop,” she added.

The source said the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) will raise the issue in the next technical working group (TWG) meeting with HK government officials.

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