Labour Dept to FDH: Consider substituting rest days

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Foreign domestic workers at Central

The Labour Department said on March 27 that as part of strengthening health protection measures against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), foreign domestic helpers (FDH) can opt to substitute their rest days and discuss this with their respective employers so as to minimize gatherings in public places on Sundays, their designated day-off.

“FDHs may consider discussing rest day arrangements with their employers, including substituting another rest day, so as to avoid the health risk of gathering in crowded places,” the Labour Department said.

The government agency added that as stipulated in the Employment Ordinance, an employer should provide another rest day to her foreign domestic helper if the latter was made to work on her day-off. This must be done within 30 days after she was made to work on her rest day.

The Labour Department also stressed that the foreign domestic helper must be informed of the said setup or changes within 48 hours after he or she has been asked to work on his or her day-off.

The Labour Department said this as it reiterated its appeal to foreign domestic workers – over 217,000 of whom are Filipinos – to stay at home on their rest days. It earlier issued the said advisory on Jan.30.

“In response to the COVID-19 infection, to safeguard FDHs’ personal health, LD issued a press release on January 30 to appeal to FDHs to stay at home for rest on their rest days as far as possible and stay away from crowds on public transport or at public places.  In view of the recent changes in circumstances of the epidemic in Hong Kong, the Government announced on March 23 further enhancements to our anti-epidemic measures.  LD again appeals to FDHs to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times, avoid going out for social activities on rest days such as meal gatherings, and maintain an appropriate social distance with other people as far as possible.  The Government notes that the consulates-general of FDHs’ home countries have similarly appealed to their nationals to stay at home whenever possible, avoid crowded places and practise social distancing,” it said.

There are at least 453 confirmed cases in Hong Kong of COVID-19 infection, at least 20 of whom are Filipinos, four have been discharged.