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Where does your helper sleep?

  1. #1
    jenayds is offline Registered User
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    Where does your helper sleep?

    We are new to HK and are considering getting a helper but have many questions.

    For a start, we live in a three bedroom flat and have two small children (toddler and baby; not old enough for bunks yet). There is a storage area behind the kitchen which presumably is meant for helpers, but it is small and strangely shaped and a bed would not fit in there. Also, we need the storage space for things like the vacuum cleaner, bikes, brooms etc etc.

    Is it OK to ask a helper to share a room with a child? It seems rude for them to not have their own space where they can go to get away from everyone.

    I know it's illegal to have a helper live out. Is this actually enforced? It seems that many people do it?

    We are trying to work out the best thing to do for our family but don't want to break the law (although I think it is a completely ridiculous law when HK flats are so tiny).

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    yes, helpers are allowed to sleep with children under a certain age and many do.

    there is a brochure from the gov't all about hiring a helper, you might want to head to immig tower to pick one up. (it might be on the internet, i'm not sure.)

    yes, live out is illegal. yes, many do it. yes it is a ridiculous law.
    i, personally, don't want to get caught, so my helper has always lived in.

  3. #3
    Sleuth is offline Registered User
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    Is live out necessarily illegal? Seems that it depends on the individual helper's circumstances. Same for the part timers.
    But it is a ridiculous law.

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    if they are here on a foreign domestic helper visa, it is illegal. if you can find someone who is a PR or a dependent then it isn't a problem for live out. what the problem then becomes is cost. it ends up costing a lot more for someone who is a PR.

    same holds true for part-time. if you find someone on a dependent visa or a PR, then it is completely ok. if they are on a dependent visa, even with employer's permission, it is completely illegal.

    and it sucks!

  5. #5
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
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    It didn't use to be illegal, when we first arrived in HK 15 yrs ago live out helpers were perfectly legal. But over the years as the govt. has cut the minimum salary, they have also made it illegal for helpers to live out.

    Cara is right about the cost though....it is obviously more expensive for employer and helper if helper lives out.

    We are facing a similar dilemma....we have a 3 bed room apartment. At the moment the helper has her own room, as does our son however with a new baby due in august at some point we are going to be short a bedroom.

    I am not comfortable with my helper sleeping with my children.....she is great with them, and we trust her completely....but I personally don't want my children sleeping with the helper, or in the same room as. Because if they wake up in the night etc. so she is the one there for them, when I want it to be me or my husband.

    I would rather our children shared rooms than that.

  6. #6
    hunhun_l is offline Registered User
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    I think many families let helper and baby stay in the same room (consider how small the apartments are in HK, and many families don't even have a storate room). If you don't want to do that, then you need to clear out the storage room.

    that was my situation, i cleared out the storage room. the things in the storage room, small ones, i tried to squeeze out cabinets space, large ones i keep in the corner of the living room.... and regarding the helper's bed, i cutomer made one in local furniture store, those kind of bunker/iron ones. it's a very small bed, but i think the helper appreciates some personal space and privacy. I didn't put anything of mine in the storage anymore, because i think she already has a very small space.

  7. #7
    Clowe is offline Registered User
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    if you're lucky enough to have a small garden or rooftop or patio, may people build a little cabin for their helpers out there. you can go into any shop that sells storage cabins meant for the garden area and have one custom made. ours is sturdy, weather proof with good insulation, and even with an air con installed though she never uses it because she prefers the warm weather. it's about 70-80sq ft, so it's pretty tiny but she really likes it because it gives her privacy (esp as it's separate from the main house) and i do believe that's very important to anybody. you can have the cabin be built as fancily as you like. ours is pretty basic but comfy and cost about 15-20K i think.

    our apartment is also 3BR with no storage or extra "helper's room" so we had to do this, but i think everyone is happy with how it's worked out.

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    just keep in mind though that it is an illegal structure and the gov't MAY come along and demand that you remove it.

    a friend of mine rented a beautiful ground floor flat in CWB that had a lovely sun-room built out from the patio doors...after 3 months in the flat they got a notice from the gov't demanding removal within a certain period of time. they were devastated and moved out shortly thereafter as the sunroom was the whole reason they moved into the flat!

    now, there is not much manpower devoted to illegal structures in hk, especially in the NT so the chances of getting caught are pretty small. but there is still a chance.

    (ps> we have a rooftop, do you think that the garden shed would be ok in a typhoon? i'm interested in getting one, either for the roof or the garden, but i'm afraid what would happen if there was a typhoon.)

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