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Get live-in or live-out helper?

  1. #9
    SarahHK is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    San Francisco
    Thanks for all this helpful info! I had no idea about the legal issues, local help, etc so will start getting to know the system. Please keep the comments coming if you have anything to add!

  2. #10
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Hong Kong
    Hi SarahHK,

    I have had a helper for 2.5 years. Live in. At first my husband and I both worked full time, we had several dogs and it was great to come home to a clean house every day and know that the dogs were well walked and well looked after. Initially I was really against a live-in for just us (we had previously always had just a part-time cleaner) but my husband insisted we had one if I wanted dogs because we traveled a lot and worked very long hours. Anyway, despite my initial reluctance it was actually great to have that indulgence.

    Since I have had my baby, though, I have stopped working and I have to say I do feel differently. Sometimes I wish I had the house to myself, I'm tired of someone always being around and I'm tired of having little real privacy. On top of that we have problems with her performance, and her attitude and it seems like all my husband and I talk about at the moment is our helper!

    It really is great to have someone living in so they are there whenever you need someone to look after your baby, but it does come at a price. Well, it does for me, but many people love it.

    If I could choose, I would have somebody part time or live out but unfortunately I am stuck in my situation for the next 7 months as my helper is pregnant (another potential, albeit rare pitfall). She had only been working for us for 5 months before this happened. It is illegal to terminate your helpers contract if she is pregnant, I have offered for her to fly back home at 5 or 6 months pregnancy and still pay her entire pregnancy salary and maternity leave but she won't because she wants to have the baby here in HK. The worst thing is that I start a very intensive university course in September and my academic year falls right across her third trimester and maternity leave, so it really is a bit of a disaster for me.

    Anyway, maybe start with a part-time as someone else suggested and see how you get on...having said that, if you find someone who is a great fit with your family then live-in can work very well. Unfortunately I haven't found that person yet.

    Good luck, and I hope you love Hong Kong.

  3. #11
    sea princess is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hong Kong

    live in vs live out

    I think you have been given great advice from everyone here. When we first moved here with a three year old and an old dog, we plunged straight into a employing a full time helper as we wanted the opportunity to travel and with an old dog, needed the reassurance she was being cared for when we were away. Our first helper came highly recommneded from another expat family who were relocating back to Canada. She interved well and was a mature lady. We thought she would be a great replacement for our daughters grandparents who minded her back in Australia. However, she was like the flat mate that never left the apartment and it was hell! She never went out, even when given a day off or an afternoon off. She would rather just sit around the house and I felt as though I had no privacy or space. She was also not great at minding our daughter, had average english and as a consequence we rarely left our little one with the helper in 2 years. She was a big mistake!

    We then employed another helper and opted for live out. She was younger, better educated and has amazing english skills. she was a teacher in the Philippines and can engage with our children very well. Live out works well for us as a family. When I want my space I can tell her not to come in or go home early which she likes too. It gives me more flexibility and privacy. She also lives in close proximity to our apartment so if I need her, it will take 5 minutes for her to arrive. When my husband travels, she sometimes stays with us if I ask her to.

    There are pros and cons for both options. I cant on the spare of the moment at night go for a walk and leave the kids or jump in the car and meet my husband, but if I'm organised and planned I can have great flexibility.

    One other consideration is your apartment space. One of our issues is that our apartment is very open plan. This is not so good if you have a helper. So bear this in mind when chosing and apartment to live in. It's handy to have a kitchen area which is closed off from your lounge/living space.

    Good luck.

  4. #12
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    whereas our live-in helper left the house on her day off at 7am and usually returned around 9:30-10pm. so she wasn't underfoot at all.

    after having gone without a helper for the past 6 months, i can honestly say that our quality of life has deteriorated. i work 6 days/week, hubby works, too. we've had to put the kids into full-day school, simply because we couldn't arrange to have someone pick them up everyday at lunch. i find cooking difficult as i don't get home from work and picking up the kids until after 6-6:30pm and as my kids usually go to bed 7:30-8pm, it leaves me a small window to make dinner, serve it, help with homework, help shower kids and get them into bed. i've resorted to frozen pizzas, ceasar salad, sandwiches and mac & cheese for most of our meals when i don't buy take-away. by the time the kids are in bed, i'm exhausted. hubby and i haven't had a chance to do anything by ourselves in 6 months.

    the only thing i'm enjoying? the extra money in our pocket.

    that said, we are seriously thinking about getting another helper....soon.

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