HK govt pressed on FDH working hours, food allowance, rest days

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Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Antonio Morales

THE Philippine Consulate General (PCG) has proposed to the Labour Department (LD) that an annex section be added to the standard employment contract of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) to clarify its “vague provisions.”

The PCG said the annex would help clarify the provisions on FDH working hours, food allowance, rest days, and baggage allowance.

The LD said during the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on March 14 that it would publish the details of these provisions in future information materials.

“LD informed Post that details of non-monetary benefits will be found in the information materials to be published for FDHs and employers,” said a report about the meeting submitted by the PCG to the Department of Foreign Affairs main office in Manila.

Filipino domestic workers had long complained of long working hours and not getting their food allowance.

However, the LD noted the difficulty of setting fixed working hours for foreign domestic helpers since even local employees had no standard working hours.

“They added that it is hard to quantify the working time of an FDH in a household setting,” the PCG said.

“Post’s counter-proposal to LD’s concern is to specify in the attachment to the FDH contract the staggered work schedule of the helper, e.g. for 10-hour-a-day work, 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,” it said.

The LD said they would encourage employers to be more humane and considerate in providing sufficient rest to their helpers. It also vowed to step up its education campaign for employers.

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