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Live-out FT helper?

  1. #1
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Live-out FT helper?

    Currently, we have a PT helper once a week. Before bb comes, we'd like a FT, but not live-in. We've the space (we're blessed with a slightly larger flat than most local families share) but we want the privacy.

    One of my family members has a live-out helper. She pays the standard rate, plus HK $1000 for a room in a nearby boarding house. Is this fair? $1,000 seems like very little to get by in HK.

    What hours would a live-out amah work? Another friend with a live-out FT amah had very set times, like 8am-6pm, to cover the parents' working hours. But their child is older and in school. What hours would an amah work for a newborn?

    The first few months, I'll care for bb myself. The amah will be there for housework -- groceries, cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.

    After I go back to work, we will rely on the amah for some childcare. Though, happily, I will only go to the office 3 days a week. Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    song is offline Registered User
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    Hi Gracey,

    We are in a similar situation as you! We found a FT who lives out when we found out we were expecting as we want the extra help but wanted to maintain some privacy. We pay an extra HKD1200 for her boarding (on top of her usual salary + allowance) and her work hours are 8am - 6pm.
    My husband and I both work full time so we expect that her work hours will increase (and she is aware of this) but we do not like how some helpers are expected to be at every beck and call 24/7 and will most likely try to minimise the help we need in the evenings. Should she have to work much later than usual, we will compensate any significant additional work hours with an extra day off in the weekend.
    I guess its hard to say how things might change but we are thinking of taking a transparent and flexible approach with our helper and adjust accordingly once our baby arrives in June (its hard to foresee what kind of sleeping/feeding pattern our bub will have at the moment!)

    Also, our helper is actually looking forward to our baby as with the current minimal workload she gets quite bored during the day and says she doesn't mind the extra work/ challenge!

    I don't know if this has been useful in any way but hope it answers some of your queries!

  3. #3
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    just be aware that it is ILLEGAL for anyone on a foreign domestic helper visa to live-out. one of the requirements of the visa is that they live-in..... if anything goes south with the helper you don't have much recourse as you have broken the conditions of her contract and could be held liable in the labour tribunal (whether or not you were paying for the boarding house) and you COULD be blacklisted and not allowed to employ a helper in the future.

    now, i'm nnot saying that this WILL happen, but it COULD. and it wouldn't even have to be something wrong with your helper.... a jealous friend of hers could call immigration and report you, too...

  4. #4
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Hi Song -- Thanks for your advice! It's good to know that 1,000-1,200 extra is in the ballpark.
    We also don't want to be slavedrivers. I have some local families who are terrible to their help, and it makes me ashamed on their behalf. We're both well accustomed to doing our own housework -- but we will need the FT help if we're both working. I'm sure (I hope) a 10-hour workday for the helper will cover it.

    Carang -- Thanks for that. I had no idea, since so many people I know use live-out or PT helpers. It seems like a cruel law -- how come other employees have a choice of where to live, but not Filipina amahs? My old PT was really happy to have her own place. Anyway, thanks for the warning!

  5. #5
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Cara - You're right that it's illegal. But it's not just that you could end up in Labour Tribunal and blacklisted - you could actually be prosecuted. That might be enough in some jobs and professions to get you fired, so the OP needs to consider this as well.

  6. #6
    elle is offline Registered User
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    Another potential problem to note - if the live-out helper does something illegal (i.e. steals from you) you have very little recourse without also landing yourself in hot water for illegally employing live-out FDH. Happened to a close friend very recently.

    For those of us willing to pay for decent live-out accommodation, transportation costs, etc., the law does seem cruel and to interfere with our privacy. But it was actually enacted to protect FDHs b/c lots of employers were having them live in overcrowded, small and terribly dirty boarding houses, often without heat, a/c in the summer or adequate plumbing or cooking facilities.

    Oh, and I think that if you are going to do it, 1000-1200 extra is on the low side. I do know quite a few people who employ live outs and they tend to spend between 1500-2000 on accommodation.

  7. #7
    canadianinhk is offline Registered User
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    I would agree with Elle. From what I have heard to get decent accommodation for the helper you are looking at around the $1500 to $2000 mark depending on where you live.

  8. #8
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    rani is offline Administrator
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    Quote Originally Posted by elle View Post

    For those of us willing to pay for decent live-out accommodation, transportation costs, etc., the law does seem cruel and to interfere with our privacy. But it was actually enacted to protect FDHs b/c lots of employers were having them live in overcrowded, small and terribly dirty boarding houses, often without heat, a/c in the summer or adequate plumbing or cooking facilities.
    The law actually changed when HK's unemployment rate spiked during the last recession, and the Gov't launched the Local DH training program. They encouraged families who were looking for a live-out helper to hire a Local person rather than hire someone from overseas

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