FAQs

Employment Standards for Domestic Workers

An employer can make deductions for damage or loss of the employer’s goods, equipment or property by the helper’s neglect or default. In any one case, the sum to be deducted shall be the cost of the damaged item, subject to a limit of HK$300. The total of such deductions shall not exceed one quarter of the wages payble to the helper in that wage period.

The employer may also make deductions from the helper’s wages under the following circumstances :

  • deductions for absence from work. The sum to be deducted. The sum to be deducted should be proportionate to the period of time the helper is absent from work;

  • deductions for the recovery of any advanced or over-paid wages made by the employer to the helper. The total sum to be deducted shall not exceed one quarter of the wages payable to the helper in that wage period;

  • deductions, with the helper’s written consent, for the recovery of any loan made by the employer to the helper; and

  • deductions which are required or authorized under any enactment to be made from the wages of the helper.

Except with the approval in writing of the Commissioner for Labour, the total of all deductions, excluding those for absence from work, made in any one wage period shall not exceed one half of the wages payable in that period.
Under the Employment Ordinance, foreign domestic helpers are entitled to the following leaves:

  • Rest days;
  • Statutory holidays; and
  • Paid annual leave.

If both parties agree to renew the contract, the helper shall, before the new contract commences, return to his/her place of origin at the expense of the employer for a paid/unpaid vacation of not less than 7 days according to the standard employment contract (unless prior approval for extension of stay in Hong Kong is given by the Director of Immigration).


Leave and payment records should be kept properly to avoid future disputes.

The employer should provide your helper with not less than 1 rest day in every period of 7 days. A rest day is a continuous period of not less than 24 hours.

Rest days shall be appointed by the employer and may be granted on a regular or an irregular basis. Unless the rest days are on a regular basis, employer should notify the helper his/her appointed rest days before the beginning of each month.

No. Except in unforeseen emergency, you shall not require your helper to work on his/her rest days. An employer who compels the helper to work on a rest day is in breach of the Employment Ordinance and is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of HK$50,000.

Employer may however, with the consent of the helper, substitute some other day for the appointed rest day. The substituted rest day shall be granted within the same month before the original rest day or within 30 days after it.

All foreign domestic helpers, irrespective of their length of services, are entitled to the following 12 statutory holidays in a year :

  • The first day of January
  • Lunar New Year’s Day
  • The second day of Lunar New Year
  • The third day of Lunar New Year
  • Ching Ming Festival
  • Labour Day, being the first day of May
  • Tuen Ng Festival
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, being the first day of July
  • The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Chung Yeung Festival
  • National Day, being the first day of October
  • Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day (at the option of the employer)

If the helper has been employed continuously by the employer for not less than 3 months immediately preceding a statutory holiday, he/she is entitled to the holiday pay.

Yes, but the employer should give his/her helper :

  • not less than 48 hours’ prior notice; and
  • an alternative holiday within 60 days before or after the statutory holiday.

Yes. If the statutory holiday falls on a rest day, a holiday should be granted on the next day which is not a statutory holiday or an alternative/substituted holiday or a rest day.

A helper is entitled to paid annual leave after having been employed for every 12 months with the same employer. The helper’s entitlement to paid annual leave increases progressively from 7 days to a maximum of 14 days according to the length of service as follows:


Years of Service Number of days of paid annual leave in a year
1 7
2 7
3 8
4 9
5 10
6 11
7 12
8 13
9 or above 14

For example, a helper is entitled to 9 days of annual leave after he/she has completed the 4th year’s service during the 2nd 2-year contract with his/her employer.

A helper shall take the paid annual leave to which he/she is entitled within the following period of 12 months at a time appointed by the employer after consultation with the helper, confirmed by a written notice to the helper at least 14 days in advance.

No. Any rest day or statutory holiday falling within the period of annual leave will be counted as annual leave. Another rest day or holiday must be appointed.

If the employer and the helper agree to renew the contract, the helper should be granted a vacation leave of not less than 7 days for returning to his/her place of origin before the new contract commences according to Clause 13 of the standard employment contract. However, whether this vacation leave shall be paid or unpaid would depend on the term agreed in the contract.

The arrangement of taking no pay leave shall be of mutual consent to both parties. The employer shall not unilaterally impose such leave on his/her helper.

Yes. When the helper is ill or injured, employer shall provide free medical treatment to him/her whether it is attributable to his/her employment. Free medical treatment includes medical consultation, maintenance in hospital and emergency dental treatment.

Yes. When the helper is ill or injured, employer shall provide free medical treatment to him/her whether it is attributable to his/her employment. Free medical treatment includes medical consultation, maintenance in hospital and emergency dental treatment.

The daily rate of sickness allowance is a sum equivalent to four-fifths of the average daily wage of the helper. It should be paid not later than the normal pay day.

No. Except in cases of summary dismissal due to the helper’s serious misconduct, an employer who contravenes the provision is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of HK$100,000.

The employer is also required to pay the helper :

  • payment in lieu of notice;
  • a further sum equivalent to 7 days’ wages as compensation*; and
  • his/her entitled sickness allowance.
  • The helper may also claim remedies for unreasonable and unlawful dismissal under the part of Employment Protection of the Employment Ordinance.

A female helper is eligible for 10 weeks paid maternity leave if she :

  • has been employed for not less than 40 weeks immediately before the commencement of scheduled maternity leave;
  • has given notice of pregnancy and her intention to take maternity leave to her employer after the pregnancy has been confirmed. For example, the presentation of a medical certificate confirming her pregnancy to the employer; and
  • has produced a medical certificate specifying the expected date of confinement if so required by the employer

No. Except in cases of summary dismissal due to the helper’s serious misconduct, an employer is prohibited from dismissing a pregnant helper from the date on which she is confirmed pregnant by a medical certificate to the date on which she is due to return to work upon the expiry of her maternity leave.

An employer who contravenes the provision is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of HK$100,000. He/she is also required to pay the helper :

  • payment in lieu of notice;
  • a further sum equivalent to 1-month wages as compensation; and
  • 10 weeks’ maternity leave pay if, but for the dismissal, she would have been entitled to such payment.
  • The helper may also claim remedies for unreasonable and unlawful dismissal under the part of Employment Protection of the Employment Ordinance

Yes. Either party may terminate the contract by giving 1 month notice in writing or 1-month wages in lieu of notice to the other party.

Termination without notice or payment in lieu of notice is allowed only under special circumstances.

The helper may terminate the employment contract without notice or payment in lieu of notice if :

  1. he/she reasonably fear physical danger by violence or disease;
  2. he/she is subjected to ill-treatment by his/her employer; or
  3. he/she have been employed for not less than 5 years and he/she is certified by a registered medical practitioner or a registered Chinese medicine practitioner as being permanently unfit for the present job.

The employer may summarily dismiss his/her helper without notice or payment in lieu of notice if his/her helper, in relation to the employment :

  1. willfully disobeys a lawful and reasonable order;
  2. misconducts himself/herself;
  3. is guilty of fraud or dishonesty; or
  4. is habitually neglectful in his/her duties.

An employer should pay severance payment to the helper if he/she is dismissed or the contract is not being renewed by reason of redundancy and has not less than 24 months of employment with the same employer immediately prior to the termination.

*If the employer has offered in writing to renew the contract or re-engage the helper under a new contract not less than 7 days before the expiry of the contract, but the helper has unreasonably refused the offer, the helper is not eligible for severance payment.

An employer should pay long service payment to the helper if he/she has worked continuously for not less than 5 years, and :

  • is dismissed or the contract is not being renewed** by reason other than summary dismissal due to his/her serious misconduct or redundancy;

  • is certified by a registered medical practitioner or a registered Chinese medicine practitioner as being permanently unfit for the present job and he/she resigns;

  • aged 65 or above and he/she resigns on ground of old age; or

  • dies in service

*If the employer has offered in writing to renew the contract or re-engage the helper under a new contract not less than 7 days before the expiry of the contract, but the helper has unreasonably refused the offer, the helper is not eligible for long service payment.

[(Last month wages x 2/3) x reckonable years of service]

Note : Service of an incomplete year should be calculated on a pro rata basis.

OWWA

  1. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). OWWA protects the interest and promotes the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents. It has (17) regional offices all over the country and is present in (31) overseas posts in (27) countries.

OWWA focuses on the welfare of the OFWs and their families. It is present in all three stages of migration: pre-departure, on-site, and upon arrival. Before the first-time workers leave, OWWA educates them on the realities of overseas work. They also undergo basic language training. Abroad, OWWA assists the OFWs whenever they encounter concerns with their employers. Finally, when the OFW is back, OWWA is ready with its livelihood trainings and programs for the OFWs’ reintegration.

The agency has a two-fold mandate:

  1. Delivery of welfare services and benefits; and
  2. Ensuring capital build-up and fund viability

OWWA’s fund is a single trust fund pooled from the US$25.00 membership contributions of foreign employers, investment and interest income, and income from other sources.

The OWWA is a membership institution. For a US$25.00 membership contribution, an OWWA member is entitled to various benefits and services.

You can be a member by:

  1. Enrollment upon processing of contract at the POEA
  2. Voluntary registration of a would-be member at job sites overseas

OWWA membership, either through the compulsory or voluntary coverage, shall be effective upon payment of membership contribution up until expiration of the employment contract. The member is covered for a maximum of two years after which the membership has to be renewed.

The OWWA provides assistance to all its members in all its regional and overseas offices.

Services on-site include:

  1. Providing information and guidance;
  2. Psycho-social counseling and conciliation services;
  3. Legal assistance, outreach missions, and training, among others

On behalf of the OFW, the OWWA may provide appropriate representation with employers, agents and host authorities.

  1. Death Benefit
  2. An active member is covered for the duration of his employment contract. The coverage includes PhP100,000.00 for death due to natural cause and PhP200,000.00 for death due to accident.

  3. Disability and Dismemberment Benefit
  4. A member is entitled to disability/dismemberment benefits of PhP50,000.00 for partial disability and Php100,000.00 in case of total permanent disability, for accident-related injuries.

  5. Burial Benefit
  6. On top of death benefit, a rider of PhP20,000.00 will be received by legal heirs for the funeral expenses.

  7. Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (Medplus)
  8. Supplemental medical relief for active OWWA and PhilHealth member-OFWs who are afflicted with dreaded diseases and were hospitalized, either at the job sites or while in the Philippines. It is financial assistance that is equivalent to the PhilHealth benefits under its case rate system but not to exceed Php 50,000.00 per member.

  9. Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)
  10. It is extended to active or non-active OWWA members or their families not eligible under any of the existing OWWA Social Benefit Programs and Services.

COVERAGE:

  • Calamity Assistance – for OWWA members and their families affected by natural or human-induced calamities/disasters
  • Bereavement Assistance – for families of deceased OWWA members
  • Medical Assistance – for OWWA members who have illnesses that are not covered under MedPlus and for members who sustained injuries due to accidents/crimes
  • Relief Assistance – for OWWA members who were displaced/laid-off en masse due to economic/political/health situations.

Yes. An OWWA member may avail for himself/herself or his/her duly designated beneficiary any of the following scholarship programs, subject to a selection process and accreditation of participating institutions:

  1. Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP).

  2. The Education for Development Scholarship Program is an educational assistance offered to qualified dependents/beneficiaries of member-OFWs. The scholarship consists of a maximum of PhP60,000.00 per school year leading to a (4) to (5) year baccalaureate course in any college or university.

  3. OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (OFWDSP).

  4. Educational assistance consisting of a maximum of PhP20,000.00 per school year leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree in a state college or university for dependents whose active OFW-member parents receive a monthly salary of not more than USD600.00

  5. Skills-for-Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)

  6. The Skills for Employment Scholarship Program is an educational training assistance where OFWs or their dependents can enhance their vocational and technical skills. It consists of a maximum of PhP14,500.00 per course in any TESDA-accredited school.

  7. Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP)

  8. The Seafarers’ Upgrading Program is designed to upgrade the skills and develop the expertise of Filipino seafarers. First availment consists of a maximum of Php7,500.00 training assistance. Availment in another training course is every after three (3) recorded membership.

  9. Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP)

  10. Education assistance for survivors of a deceased OFW consisting of PhP5,000.00 for elementary, PhP8,000.00 for high school and Php10,000.00 for college per school year and livelihood assistance amounting to Php15,000.00 is given to the surviving spouse.

I. Pre-Departure Education Program

  1. Country-Specific Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) – A one-day compulsory orientation to OFWs consisting of modules on employment contract, country of destination, stages of the OFWs’ life abroad, health and safety, financial literacy, travel tips and airport procedures, and government programs and services. This is attended by all workers (all skills) prior to their deployment abroad.

  2. Comprehensive Pre-Departure Education Program (CPDEP) – A four or six-day orientation seminar attended by Domestic Workers (DWs) consisting of language training, culture familiarization, and stress management.

II. Training Programs For Filipino Seafarers

  1. Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP) – Job-related training assistance for upgrading courses of up to P7,500.00 *Succeeding availments every after three (3) recorded membership contributions.

  2. Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (Bridging) Program – A scholarship grant for prospective seafarers who are graduates of BS Mechanical Engineering (BSME) and BS Electrical Engineering (BSEE) who wish to pursue BSMarine Engineering (BSMarE) course.

Repatriation is bringing back of distressed OFWs and human remains. Emergency repatriation is carried out in the event of any political unrest or natural calamities. Workers are accorded with airport assistance, temporary shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home, psycho-social counseling, stress debriefing, and transport services or fares for their onward travel to their respective provinces.

Reintegration Program – Reintegration is a way of mainstreaming returning OFWs into Philippine society. It covers (2) major components – economic and psycho-social components.

The economic component includes social preparation programs for livelihood projects or community-based income generating projects, skills training and credit facilitation and lending.

The psycho-social components include community organizing program or organizing of OFW family circles and services like social counseling, family counseling, stress debriefing, and training on capacity building, value formation, etc.

a. Reintegration Preparedness (on-site)

  • Value formation training
  • Financial literacy
  • Entrepreneurial development training
  • Techno-skills and capacity building

b. Reintegration (in-country)

  • Job referrals
  • Business counseling
  • Community organizing
  • Financial literacy seminar
  • Networking with support institutions

c. Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program – A package of livelihood support/assistance intended to provide immediate relief to returning member-OFWs (distressed/displaced) amounting to a maximum Php 20,000.00 as start-up or additional capital for the livelihood project.

d. Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP).

Formerly known as OFW-Reintegration Program (ORP), is an enterprise development intervention and loan facility of OWWA, in partnership with Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), intended to support enterprise development among OFWs and their families.

  • Interest Rate: 7.5% per annum for the entire duration of the loan
  • Loan Purpose: Working Capital and Fixed Asset Acquisition
  • Project Cost-Sharing: Borrower’s Equity: minimum of 20% of the Total Project Cost (TPC)
  • Financial literacy seminar
  • Loan Amount: The loan amount shall depend on project needs and amount of equity participation of the borrower

For Individual Loan Borrowers (single proprietorship)

  1. Minimum – Php100,000.00
  2. Maximum – Php2,000,000.00

For Group Loan Borrowers (partnerships, corporations, cooperatives)

  1. Minimum- Php100,000.00
  2. Maximum – Php5,000,000.00

    • Loan Repayment:

    • Short-Term- max of one (1) year;

      Term Loan: based on cash flow but not to exceed 7 years, inclusive of maximum of 2 years grace period

    • Loan Security/Collateral:
    • Object of financing
    • Mortgage able project assets (machines or equipment) and other assets of the borrower
    • Eligible Projects: Franchising business/ Contract tie-up with top 1000 corporations/ Agri and non-agri production/manufacturing/ Construction/rental business/ Service/trading business/ Transport service/ Any viable project whether existing or new
    • The enterprise should generate cash flow sufficient to pay the projected amortization of the loan

e. Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO) – A one-time grant assistance in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs. and other support services, that aim to support the formation, enhancement, or restoration of livelihood projects/undertakings of OFW organizations. The amount of grant shall be based on the project requirement up to a maximum of P 1 million for OFW organizations with more than 51 members.

FILING OF COMPLAINT

  • Step 1

  • Go to POLO Section and fill out the “Sinumpaang Salaysay” Form or download form click here.

  • Step 2

  • Submit three (3) original copies of completely filled out “Sinumpaang Salaysay” along with the complainant’s passport/HKID copy to the Philippine Consulate General’s ATN Section for notarization.

  • Step 3

  • Submit the notarized “Sinumpaang Salaysay” to POLO Agency Complaint Section.

  • Step 4

  • The complainant and the responding party will be scheduled for a concilliation meeting. Both parties will be notified via call or e-mail on the date of schedule.

RECRUITMENT

The following are exempted from the ban on direct hiring:

  1. Members of diplomatic corps;
  2. International organizations;
  3. Heads of state and government officials with the rank of at least deputy minister; or
  4. Other employers as may be allowed by the Secretary of Labor and employment, such as:

    1. Those provided in (a), (b) and (c) who bear a lesser rank, if endorsed by POLO, or Head of Mission in absence of the POLO;

    2. Professionals and skilled workers with duly executed/ authenticated contracts containing terms and conditions over and above the standards set by the POEA. The number of professional and skilled Overseas Filipino Workers hired for the first time by the employer shall not exceed five (5). For the purpose of determining the number, workers hired as a group shall be counted a sone; or

    3. Workers hired by a relative/family member who is apermanent resident of the host country.