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Helper wants to sleepover every Saturday

  1. #1
    Newbie_hk is offline Registered User
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    Helper wants to sleepover every Saturday

    We are newbies at this helper set-up so we need some advice from those of you who have been here.

    We just signed our contract with our helper yesterday and she requested if she stay out and sleep over on Saturday evenings (I recall she said with was with her sister) to come back on Sunday evening as this was allowed at her previous employer. Initially we said no problem but after giving it some thought, I had reservations because if something happens to her overnight (injury or accident), will we be liable even it happens outside our premises? This is not to say that we will not help her if she gets into trouble but insurance wise, will this be covered (note: we have arranged for insurance yet but that’s at the top of our list)?

    I'm thinking perhaps special occasions (birthday, holidays etc) only and not on a regular basis.

    So three questions :
    1) Do you allow your helper to sleep over at someone else's place on a REGULAR basis?
    2) If something happens to her overnight outside of our premises, are we liable?
    3) Will this be covered by insurance.

    Things were running in my head last night - what if it isn't a sister and she meets someone and she gets pregnant? Thanks !

  2. #2
    elle is offline Registered User
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    You need to give your helper at least a continuous period of 24 hours off once a week by law. You can't dictate what she does during this time, so if her rest day is on Sunday she can leave at 12:01am and spend the rest of the night somewhere else.

    My helpers are both out all night pretty regularly on Saturday night (and on other evenings/ nights for that matter). Helpers are employees, not slaves - how would you like to be bound to someone else's household and not permitted to leave? Not sure what exactly you are concerned with being covered by insurance (long term disability from an accident while away from home??). Her insurance should cover ordinary illness and injury. She can also use the public health system, which is pretty inexpensive. If your helper commits a crime you aren't liable, why would you be. If she is working for someone else you can get into trouble, BUT there really isn't anything you can do to be 100% sure she will not - unless you follow her around on her time off or illegally require her to stay home on rest days. There needs to be some degree of trust.

    She doesn't need to spend the night anywhere to get pregnant, and this is just one of the "risks" associated with employing a helper.

  3. #3
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
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    I don't think I'd be comfortable with this myself. Happy to have it happen if she requests but not every Sat night as we would want to retain some flexibility for her to babysit on a Sat night (not that we seem to get out as a couple nearly enough). It is about flexibility on both sides and what you are comfortable with.

    Agree with elle above re getting pregnant - that could happen anytime and is just one of those things with having an employee (as is the case with any female employee).

  4. #4
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    I wouldn't be comfortable with it right away. She hasn't worked for you yet and she has conditions for you to meet already! You can tell her that you'd like to see how things work out with her first - if she's trustworthy, diligent, etc. It is against Immigration rules for her to reside anywhere else than in your home, so you really have to make sure that she's worth the risk to you.

  5. #5
    elle is offline Registered User
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    staying out overnight one night a week before a rest day does not constitute residing out of the employers household, according to immigration when I made this inquiry. she is in fact legally entitled to do whatever she wishes over her weekly 24 hour rest period. it amazes me that so many employers put conditions on their helpers during their time off - how would you feel if your employer told you where and how you could spend your time off? I do however understand wanting a Saturday night baby sitter sometimes. We dealt with this by making clear before we hired both our helpers that they would have to alternate Saturday nights IF we were going out. If they stay until Sunday morning, they get an additional period of time of in lieu to make sure they have 24 continuous hours off per immigration regulations.

  6. #6
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    Our helper goes to stay with her sister most Saturday nights also, we let her know if we're out on a Saturday night and she's welcome to leave after we come home or stay and leave in the morning if she prefers. Agree with those who've said it's a job and you really don't have the right to stop her - plus not sure why you would want to, you have the opportunity to have several nights with your friends and family, why not her, she's an employee not a child on a curfew.

    She also has the right to get pregnant like any employee, of course not the best for her or you if she's single and it's unplanned but not going out on a Saturday night is not exactly a recognised form of contraception ;-)

    If you're worried, maybe offer to take her and her sister out to lunch one day so you can get to know her and her family better - we occasionally do lunch with my helper and her sisters, I think it's nice to take an interest in someone's family when you're working so closely with them
    Last edited by jvn; 04-06-2011 at 03:15 PM.

  7. #7
    Newbie_hk is offline Registered User
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    We certainly have every intention of giving her a day off, just didn’t know if it went further than a day as I’ve never heard of sleepovers and I’ve seen in some posts that employers do not allow the day off to extend overnight.
    I did some further research and found this very helpful guide on the Immigration Website : Practical Guide For Employment of foreign domestic helpers – What foreign domestic helpers and their employer should know. It is a very helpful starting point and in it, it does indeed stipulate that under the Employment ordinance, “You should provide your helper at least one rest day in every period of seven days. A rest day is a continuous period of not less than 24 hours”

    Note that the 24 hours is the minimum. Not that we’ll be counting hours but it does provide a guide.

    That pretty much solves our dilemma. I do like the suggestion that we take the sister out to lunch too.

    Thanks everyone for your replies.

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