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3 year old w/out Domestic Helper?

  1. #1
    Bob Loblaw is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    2

    3 year old w/out Domestic Helper?

    Hello All -
    I've lurked for a while on the geoexpats site, but figured I'd finally sign in here and ask some questions.
    We moved here to HK in January, with our 3 year old. I'm working full time - fairly flexible hours, but I have to work a fair amount. My wife is looking for work. We have a 3 year old. We also have a lot of my wife's family in town.
    We're trying to find out how people here raise kids without domestic helpers. Ideally, we would find people to babysit/nanny at times, but have no desire to have a full-time DH (especially not a live-in one).
    This was never a problem back in the States, where we've moving from. Here, where domestic helpers are so common, it seems trickier. Right now, since my wife hasn't found work yet, it's not a crisis; but she wants to work, and our kid's daycare/kindergarten is only 3 hours/day, so we're worried about what will happen once she does find work.
    We're wondering what other folks have done.
    Thanks,
    -Charles

  2. #2
    miran is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    hong kong
    Posts
    172
    hired a domestic helper

  3. #3
    charade is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    TKO
    Posts
    674
    I have not one but two helpers so probably not qualified to answer this, but since noone else is, here are what I understand to be the options:

    1. There are agencies in Hong Kong through which you can legally hire a part-timer. I think the rates are expensive but the helpers provided have some training.

    2. The government's labour department also has a scheme where local nannies are trained. However, the reason expats don't use this service is because of the language barrier.

    3. On weekends, it's quite easy to find part-time help (illegally). A lot of full-time helpers would like to earn a little extra by sacrificing some of their day off. But this is usually in the day so would not suit your requirements for dinners out or weekdays.

    4. There are reportedly some foreign helpers doing part-time work and living in boardinghouses. This is illegal but they exist. The way to find them is through word of mouth.

    5. There are creches in Hong Kong run by social organisations. Here is one near where I live:
    Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children

    When I had posted this earlier, someone commented that the rates make it more economical to hire a helper. However, for people who prefer their privacy, it might be worth looking into. My friend who lives in Ma On Shan opted for one when she had a third child and her helper didn't like the idea of working with another person at home.

    6. Hire a full-time helper but make a live-out arrangement with. This is illegal but people do it. However, the government seems to be becoming stricter about it as a couple of boardinghouses were raided. Still, some people appear to be still doing this.

    For 3 and 4, you can start by asking your friends to ask their helpers if they know anyone who is looking for part-time work or try asking the friendlier helpers in your estate. Like there's a SAHM mum who doesn't have a helper in my building and she asked my helper if she knew anyone (unfortunately my helper didn't). If you or your wife get friendly with any of the helpers in the playground you could float the question. Remember, it's illegal so this arrangement requires a certain amount of trust on both sides.

  4. #4
    Bob Loblaw is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    2
    Charade, thanks, these are good places to start.
    With my wife's family in the area, and with my schedule being somewhat flexible, we're not *that* far from being able to pull all of this off. And yes, it is in a lot of ways a question of privacy. I just have no desire to have someone else living with us.
    -Charles

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