Daily Archives: February 24, 2014

ARTICLES – SCMP Op-ed on the “Job Hopping” Myth from Our Legal Advisor

Our legal advisor, Rob Connelly has an Op-ed in the South China Morning Post today on the myth of ‘job-hopping’. His unedited commentary is below…

What would you think of a law which penalised you for changing your employer? What if you had paid the majority of the costs of your recruitment to an employment agency and were now being told that to resign would be unfair to your employer? Why do we countenance such discriminatory administrative policies towards migrant domestic workers, or Foreign Domestic Helpers, as they are known to the Hong Kong Government?

In response to SCMP, 21.2.14

Once again, the job-hopping myth has been trotted out to justify the discriminatory and punitive immigration policies towards migrant domestic workers (“Job-hopping’ helpers exploit rules for cash” – 20 February 2014). It’s time to look at the facts.

Contrary to the statement of the Security Bureau in the article, workers who terminate their employment contracts prematurely are not entitled to severance pay under the Employment Ordinance. They will only receive any outstanding salary for the period worked and return passage to their home country, as a ticket or cash in lieu, at the discretion of the employer. A worker who does not have grounds to terminate the contract summarily has to give one month’s notice or pay one month’s wages in lieu of notice to the employer.

After terminating her contract, the worker has 14 days to find a new employer, at the end of which she has to leave Hong Kong, whether or not a new employer has been found. She will suffer loss of income for four to six weeks while waiting for the new visa, or even longer if she did not find an employer and has to register again with an agency in her home country.

BLOG – Today’s New Burmese Helpers Vulnerable to Abuse as Campaign Activist Meets Newcomers at Airport

In the early hours of this morning, 19 new Burmese domestic helpers were greeted by Golden Mind Employment Agency at Hong Kong’s International Airport – the first wave of workers from Myanmar.

A representative from HK Helpers Campaign went to meet the newcomers to distribute a concise list of helplines, support networks, advice and rights information in their language. The campaign is not aware of any government agency or other NGO informing new helpers from Myanmar of their rights.

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People from Myanmar are arguably the most vulnerable people in Southeast Asia. The rules have not changed in Hong Kong and so they are at great risk of abuse. 58% of helpers in the city have been abused physically, verbally or sexually, according to a 2012 survey by Mission for Migrant Workers.

Burmese helpers have limited Cantonese and English skills and are not internet-savvy due to years-long restrictions in their country. Additionally, there are no other Burmese helpers in Hong Kong for them to turn to for help.