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OWA $200 fee for helper

  1. #1
    syuan is offline Registered User
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    OWA $200 fee for helper

    My helper has been with us for 2 years, and we recently signed a new contract. She then showed us a letter she got from the Philippines consulate that says that employers must pay a $200 membership fee for their helpers for every contract signed for the Overseas Workers Affairs. Apparently all contracts that are processed in the Philippines already include payment for this (as was our case last time), but contracts that are subsequently processed in HK do not include this fee.

    I asked the agent who processed our papers about this, and they said that was indeed the case, but the agent fee we paid does not cover this OWA fee. But they also said that this fee is not mandatory, that it's some sort of "insurance", but they weren't able to tell me exactly what benefits would be provided to the helpers. My helper said that the consulate says it's mandatory, but she's also not able to tell me why. I can't imagine that it's compulsary if we've already processed the papers and got our visas without any problem.

    It's not the $200 that I care about, I just want to know exactly what this payment is for and whether or not it is mandatory. If it's for "insurance" purposes, then we really don't need it as we already bought a comprehensive insurance policy for her. If she gets certain benefits out of this membership, then I don't mind paying for it, but I have a right to know exactly what kind of benefits she'll receive.

    Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

  2. #2
    snagito is offline Registered User
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    Hi there, we had the same thing and it looked like some sort of union that advocates on behalf of the Filipina Overseas workers - our helper said it was mandatory (or so she thought) so we went ahead with it and she brought us a receipt for the $200. In retrospect seems yet another 'fee' but at the time we were quite confused and thought just go with the flow as we wanted things to go smoothly..first time employers though so your case will be different - I don't think it is mandatory after all!

  3. #3
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Here's some more info on OWWA.

    http://www.owwa.gov.ph/

    I didn't think it was mandatory. Heard they're bankrupt and they can't even pay the benefits members are entitled to.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  4. #4
    beckveldman is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Rani for the link. Hm, doesn't seem like it's mandatory to me!

    Our new helper has just brought me the papers and told me the consulate told her she had to pay it, but my records indicate that I haven't paid this for previous helpers (also direct hires, like this one, and also hired in HK).

    As the original poster said, it's not that I mind $200, but I do mind the way various organisations seem to try to take advantage of helpers and their employers by the myriad of ill-explained fees and charges.

    Also like the original poster, we have insurance for our helper, so unless there are other benefits to her from this OWAA, I'm really inclined not to pay.

    Anyone else got info, maybe via their helper?

  5. #5
    syuan is offline Registered User
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    this is what i ended up doing. i gave my helper the $200 to pay, but i told her that she must come back with a list of the benefits she would receive. she came back and gave the money back to me, told me that there's just some insurance benefits and courses, but it's not mandatory, just up to the employer. i told her that i don't mind paying if she feels the benefits are worth it for her. she said no need, as i already have insurance for her, and the courses are on and off depending on the funds the organization has. so that was the end of this discussion!

  6. #6
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    I asked our helper and she signed up the first year she arrived in HK, and then realized its a waste.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  7. #7
    banane76 is offline Registered User
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    With the recent changes I sort of read in the newspaper...is this now mandatory?

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