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Labor law provisions re sick helper

  1. #1
    forever is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Hong Kong

    Labor law provisions re sick helper

    My helper has just been diagnosed with cancer and will require at least 6 months of chemo therapy. She has asked for permission to stay in a boarding house during this time and not do any work for us and I'm fine with it.

    The problem is, we have an 18-month old and I'm 5 months pregnant. I really need a helper. I wish we could afford to hire another helper while keeping our sick helper on the payroll but I don't think we can. As I understand it, her situation will be uncertain for a while, so I can't wait until she finishes her 6-month treatment either because she may very well require further treatment.

    What are my options? I'll have to get another helper. I feel sorry for my current helper and want to help her, but paying her salary for the remainder of her contract (still 18 months left) is really beyond our means at this point.

    What are the relevant labor law provisions? What are we required to do with regard to a helper who's unable to work due to cancer?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  2. #2
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pokfulam, Hong Kong


    Sorry you're going through this. It's a tough situation. I would recommend emailing the Labor Department. They are very responsive on email.

    According to the FDH Guide, the maximum paid sick leave a helper can receive is 120 days. However you're not allowed to terminate your helper if she's sick. You need to ask the Labour Dept, what happens after 120 days if she's not better. (scroll down to chapter 5)

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    geomum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Hong Kong

    Seriously..... call the Labour department and ask them directly what your responsibility as an employer are in case the Helper has life threatening illness. I know you would like to help her morally but it will be very difficult to bear her financial burden especially considering the uncertain course of her treatment.
    Its best for her to go back to her home country, she will need the support of her family as well while going through such a intensive treatment. There will be no one to take care of her in the boarding house, getting chemo therapy is not easy, she needs one person to be by her side 24/ 7 (Especially to take care of her diet)
    My part time Helper went to Philippines to get her breast surgery (She had lumps in one of her breast and the docs at QM told her she needs surgery), she broke her contract and took complete responsibility of her treatment. She is now back after 6 months, employed with someone new.

    PS: How long has she been employed with you? Do you have any suspicion that her cancer maybe pre- existing and she was aware of it when she got employed with you?

    Last edited by geomum; 01-15-2011 at 10:34 AM.

  4. #4
    Sazzy is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Hong Kong

    Have you checked your insurance?

  5. #5
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Hong Kong

    Q5.3 Under what circumstances is a helper entitled to sickness allowance?
    Thanks Rani for pointing us in the right direction! I have an older helper and this would probably come in handy. From the site Rani pointed out:

    An employer should pay the helper sickness allowance if :
    - he/she has accumulated the number of paid sickness days;
    - the sick leave taken is not less than four consecutive days; and
    - the sick leave is supported by an appropriate medical certificate.
    - Paid sickness days are accumulated at the rate of two paid sickness days for each completed month of service during the first 12 months of employment; and four paid sickness days for each month of service thereafter subject to a maximum of 120 days.

    My understanding is, like any regular employment, the employer cannot terminate the contract while your employee is sick and should give the employee unpaid leave once she's run out of sick leave.

    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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