June 16, 2005
Labouring the point
Hong Kong is considered one of the best places to work in Asia for helpers, partly because of the strict contract and labour laws that govern their employment. But the theory does not translate to practice. There has been a massive shift towards employment of Indonesian helpers instead of Filipinas, partly because employers can get away with paying Indonesians far less than the minimum wage without fear. Now let's contrast two articles in today's newspapers.
The Standard says cheated employees 'will have to blow the whistle' if they've been cheated on salaries by their employers, and testify if they want redress, otherwise the Government won't help them. The article is concerned with Government contractors but the same applies for domestic helpers. For proof, let's turn to a staggering case reported in the SCMP:
A Labour Department suggestion that a domestic helper who complained about harassment, death threats and abuse by her employer should be less sensitive and focus on her work has been described as "hopeless" by a judge... Under discussion was a Labour Department reply to a five-page hand-written letter sent by Ms Aquino detailing the extensive abuse she said she was suffering at the hands of her employers, Betty So Mei-ngor and her husband, Leung To-kwong.You would think the Labour Department's job is to intervene in cases like this to protect employees. You'd be wrong. Is it because of the undercurrent of racism in this city, where helpers are often considered slaves and sub-human? Is it because this city is based on protecting the big over the little in commerce? Is it because a poor city rapidly became a rich one? Is it simply incompetence from Hong Kong's "underpaid" civil servants?
Domestic helpers are taxpayers in this city, despite their low wages. They pay and average tax rate that is higher than what a person earning HK$1 million pays. There is something very, very wrong with the system.
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maid in hong kong
Excerpt: Simon notes a disturbing case of domestic abuse and bureaucratic oversight.:The Standard says cheated employees 'will have to blow the whistle' if they've been cheated on salaries by their employers, and testify if they want redress, otherwise the Gove...
Tracked: June 16, 2005 02:33 PM
HK amahs vs GZ aiyees
Excerpt: I have often marveled at friends the scenes in Central Hong Kong on Sundays.
Weblog: GZ Expat, Part II
Tracked: June 16, 2005 09:16 PM