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Helper Holiday Leave Question

  1. #1
    MamaTucker is offline Registered User
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    Helper Holiday Leave Question

    Hi all, looking for some advice. My helper started with us January, since then we've been away 10 days in Feb, and about to go away 16 days for Easter then a further 5 days early May.

    She asked this morning for 10 days holiday in mid-May so she can return to the Philippines.

    I understand from the contract that she isn't entitled to paid holidays until she has worked for us for a year (she has a one year contract).

    She is also expecting us to pay for her airfare and for her to reimburse us later.

    Am I wrong to tell her no, and that we want her to take time off when we are also on holiday again later in the year as she isn't entitled to it yet?

    I'm feeling very confused by all the info on the govt website!

  2. #2
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    First, my assumption is that your helper was hired from the Philippines. She is not a local person with a permanent HKID, correct? In that case, I don't understand how she only has a 1-year contract as the standard contract for overseas domestic helpers is two years.

    Second, yes your helper IS entitled to paid holidays before she has worked for you for a year. She is actually entitled to all public holidays to be paid--the ones that are laid out by the government in this document. She is not entitled to the two-week mandatory paid leave in which she returns to her home country until she has finished one full contract (two years)--at that time even if she's going to renew her contract for you or another employer she MUST return home and re-enter Hong Kong on a new visa. She is guaranteed a minimum of two weeks leave at that time--that happens after she has finished a full contract (two years).

    You do not have to give her a 10-day holiday leave to the Philippines. You certainly do not have to pay for it if you allow her to go. It's really up to you. If you don't mind her going for 10 days then have her take 10 days unpaid leave. She will also need to pay for her travel expenses (tickets, food, travel etc.) as these are not your responsibility. It's silly that she is "expecting" you to pay for airfare for her. Even in other sectors in HK it would be silly for employees to expect that after working for less than 6 months their employer would give them a 10-day all-expenses paid holiday. It just doesn't work that way in Hong Kong. It sounds like she's trying to take advantage of you. Seriously.

    If she really needs the holiday for family or personal reasons then tell her she has the option of taking an unpaid 10-day leave and that you will give her an advance on her salary for 1-2 months so she can pay for the expenses. That's pretty standard. Otherwise, I wouldn't even bother with it and tell her that it's not standard practice to take a holiday after only working less than 3 months and in most jobs she would still be on probation and not allowed to take holiday anyway--especially not as a domestic helper.
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  3. #3
    satay sue is offline Registered User
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    Big festival late May in Philippines which is why a lot of Filipinas want to go back at that time of year.

  4. #4
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    how did you manage a 1 year contract. i thought they MUST be 2 year contracts as they are the standard issue contracts from the gov't...

  5. #5
    MamaTucker is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for the advice, Satay Sue I didn't realise there was a big festival, she told me her father was sick. Funnily enough we are overseas right now and she is sitting doing not a lot for 16 days, so not really a genuine reason to have to travel in May!

    Carang, she does have a 2 year contract. I was mistaken, she has a 1 year Visa. I still haven't managed to get my head around how she has done this. She worked for another family for 7 months, they left to live in another country at the beginning of January. She started with us around 5 days later, staying in HK. She then spent quite a number of days going back and forth to Immigration (at our expense) after she started. It's now clear to us that we have a 2 year contract but she has only a 1 year visa. So we will have to allow her 7 days paid holiday in January 2013 to return to the Philippines to renew her work visa. It's unclear to us why her previous employer didn't pay for her to return there this January so we will need to contact them to clarify and find out who is responsible for her airfare to the Philippines next year (us or them, or perhaps they paid her out). We are clear that we will pay her flight back into HK if we want her to continue working for us.

    It's such a minefield and really very hard to get a clear picture in your head of how everything works when you first arrive in HK, I only wish I had read these forums before employing her!

    Thanks for all your advice, ;)

  6. #6
    Honkyblues is offline Registered User
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    Her father is sick, so she wants to wait till mid-May to go??? Sounds like a load of crock to me. I think you're being taken for a ride here.

    As the family she worked for before were relocated overseas, she does get a chance to start a new contract without going home first, but has to return to the Philippines within the first year (hence the one-year visa, I guess). Yes, her previous employer should be paying for that flight to the Philippines, and you should be paying to bring her back to you again. Presumably, the previous employer gave her the cash in lieu - so good luck getting her to agree to pay for her flight back!!

    But really, if her father was sick, wouldn't she be asking to go back home now while you are away? I think she's messing you around and you must put your foot down now - otherwise she's going to spend the rest of the contract trying to manipulate you. I think you need to show her you're not a naive first-time employer and lay down the ground rules now. It might mean she quits (or has such a bad attitude you end up terminating her), but frankly, she's not sounding like much of a keeper right now.

  7. #7
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    she doesn't have to agree to pay for her own flight back.... you just tell her the rules and say you will pay for the return flight as per the law. she is responsible for getting herself there.

    we hired someone directly after she finished her contract. we needed her to start immediately and she, too, had to return home within 1 year.

    she asked to go home last xmas. luckily, she arranged this with us in September, so we had a lot of time to buy the ticket. we bought the ticket online (cebu pacific). the round-trip was only about $1200 or so. i paid for the entire ticket upfront and then deducted her portion from her salary. of course, we arranged all of this before i bought the ticket.

    our other helper will be going to PH later this month, with his wife (our former helper, who now lives in canada). to make things easier i purchased tickets for both of them (guaranteed on same flight) online and then deducted cost of tickets from our helper's salary.

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