Domestic helpers

Hiring a domestic helper is common in Hong Kong, and here you can find some experiences and a bit of advice on what it's like.

Can you have too much domestic help?

At lunch last week, we saw a young boy (5-ish) eating his lunch. At regular intervals their helper would lift the cup of water to his lips so he could have a drink. Ok it was 'helping' him drink, but it didn't seem like much help towards growing up.

Or what about the older boys I see who stand a good foot or more taller than their helper, and yet the helper is carrying their school bags.

How much help is too much?

MrB Read more »

Domestic helpers update

I’ve written several times about hiring and managing domestic helpers here in Hong Kong, but not for quite a while. There’s a reason for that – or, rather, a couple of reasons.

First, after employing a couple of decent helpers, we had bad luck and employed one we really didn’t like. Then, after she left, we found one we liked very much indeed. I was so worried about jinxing the whole deal I felt constrained from mentioning it!  Read more »

Should I hire a domestic helper?

Question: I've heard that lots of people in Hong Kong hire domestic helpers. What does that involve? Are all domestic helpers from abroad and live-in? Is it possible to employ a local staff on a permanent basis who works a 40-hour week and who live by themselves when they are not at work?

Mr T replies: What you've heard is certainly true. There are more than a couple hundred thousand domestic helpers working in Hong Kong, and many families (including the Talls) employ one. They are overwhelmingly from abroad. In the recent past, the vast majority were from the Philippines. Filipinos still predominate, but the numbers of Indonesian helpers is rising very fast, and there are also helpers recruited from Thailand, Sri Lanka, and other Asian countries. I've written three articles on what it's like to employ a domestic helper if you'd like to read more; links are here, here, and here. According to current regulations, your domestic helper must live in your home if she is from overseas. This requirement doesn't apply, of course, to helpers/housecleaners/babysitters, etc. (almost universally part-time) who are from Hong Kong. Read more »

Domestic helpers, part III

Allow me to preface this piece, which tries to describe some of the common difficulties that arise between employers and domestic helpers in Hong Kong, by saying that I don't just think that many DH's in HK are exploited and oppressed by their employers -- that many are is simply a fact. My church has hundreds (possibly thousands; it's hard to keep track) of members who are DHs, and I've gotten to know many of them, some quite well. I've heard many ugly stories, and have no reason to doubt their veracity. Read more »

Domestic helpers, part II

I've been motivated to revisit the issue of hiring and living with a domestic helper because Mrs Tall and I have recently had to hire a new helper ourselves.

I'm intending this article to be a follow-up to my previous one on this subject, which you can find here. If you're interested in this subject, you might want to go back and have a look at that article first.  Read more »

Domestic helpers in Hong Kong

A revelation for many expats in Hong Kong is the expectation that they'll employ a full-time domestic helper. I use the term 'expectation' intentionally. Most expatriates -- especially families -- are likely to make far more money than is needed to afford this arrangement. Tens of thousands of local Hong Kong Chinese families also employ domestic helpers as well, of course.

For most of us expats, having someone living in your home who does the cooking, cleaning and childcare is a huge adjustment. It's a marvelous luxury, but it brings up a number of issues and problems you might not anticipate that can cause big problems. Read more »

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