[Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz]

MANILA, JUNE 10, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - Who says only aspiring beauty queens need training on social graces?

Household service workers (HSWs) seeking employment in Hong Kong will soon have to undergo personality development training before they will be allowed to depart.

The Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) said yesterday that recruitment agencies are formulating an improved training program for Hong Kong-bound HSWs.

The SHARP said the training program is meant not only to enhance the skills and job preparedness of HSWs, but also to improve their personality.

Earlier, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz ordered the drafting of a module on Filipino culture and values that would be used in the training of departing OFWs.

Baldoz said the module would help OFWs, including household service workers and seafarers, become professionals in the way they dress, talk, and conduct their selves in public.

SHARP officials said that recruitment agencies signed a covenant committing to provide training for the departing HSWs and ensuring that no placement fee would be collected from the workers.

ďWe fully support government policies and programs that will benefit HSWs bound for Hong Kong and their families,Ē the group said.

Last February, SHARP declared a moratorium in the deployment of HSWs to Hong Kong in order to persuade foreign employers to pay for the cost of recruitment and deployment of workers.

SHARP president Alfredo Palmiery presented a copy of the covenant to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Palmiery said they would do their best in bringing reforms in the recruitment system for household service workers to Hong Kong.

He said they would post the names of the 52 agencies that signed the covenant in the SHARP-POEA posters, and on the POEA website.



Hong Kong Domestic Helper Guide

Hong Kong Domestic Helper

If your income and accommodation size allows you to hire a Hong Kong Domestic Helper ('helper'), you will find her invaluable. Many domestic helpers will have worked in Hong Kong before, so they will have a wealth of local experience to offer a recently arrived family. She will be able to help you set up and run your home, leaving the family free to spend their free time enjoying 'quality time'.

From what you have read in the Work and Spouses pages you will realize that 'quality time' has a premium in Hong Kong and you don't want to spend it in Park'n'Shop or Welcome Supermarkets.

As socializing through work or members clubs is either 'expected' or part of the 'settling in' process, the availability of in-house childcare is invaluable.

You'll realize how many domestic helpers there are in Hong Kong when you walk through Central on a Sunday and see hundreds of maids sitting around enjoying their day off.

Finding a Domestic Helper in Hong Kong

The best way to find a helper is through a referral.

Helpers, or their departing employers on behalf of the helper, often place advertisements on club notice boards, on internet forums or in Dollarsaver.

You can also set up a thread asking for a recommendation on one of the internet forums (see links). Helpers found in these ways will be resident in Hong Kong, but they may have to return to their country of origin for a couple of weeks prior to taking up their contract with you.

If these sources don't work for you there are agencies that can help you arrange a remote-hire from the helper's country of origin. Although you won't have to pay the helper the premium over the minimum wage that most HK-experienced helpers will ask for, you don't get the chance of conducting an interview or speaking to a past HK-employer. You won't be able to gauge her interaction with your family or her understanding of Western hygiene, etiquette or cooking.

If hiring a helper sounds daunting go on a Domestic Helper Management course at the YWCA first. They also offer courses for helpers in Western cooking, childcare etc.

An Orientation consultant can help you find, interview and secure the services of a domestic helper. Refer to the Contact Us page.

Hiring a Domestic Helper

The Hong Kong Government have posted a sample Domestic Helper contract, a guidance handbook and a detailed guide on-line.

You will need to get a hardcopy pack containing duplicate contracts and multiple enclosures in order to submit an application to employ and sponsor a domestic helper.

The main points to note are:

Useful Links

As you are responsible for your helpers healthcare it is worthwhile asking her to undergo a pre-hire medical screening.HSBC offers medical insurance for your Hong Kong domestic helper as an add-on to their house insurance package.



Yesterday morning I went into town to meet a friend for brunch and walking from the station to the restaurant in Soho I almost tripped over some of the thousands of domestic helpers hanging around in town.

This is a regular sight on Sundays (the only days off for the maids) with thousands of maids (also known as domestic helpers) gathering in groups on every available free space around Central.

Through heat, sun, wind and cold they sit in small groups on card board boxes sharing food and stories and playing games.

The majority of the approximately 240,000 domestic helpers in Hong Kong are Filipino, leaving behind their lives and families in hope of a better life and income in Hong Kong.

Surprisingly, most of the domestic helpers have degrees and speak good English as a higher education degree is required in order to obtain a work visa for Hong Kong.

Most families in Hong Kong have a maid (some even more than one) and the majority of them are live-in maids. Considering that the average house in Hong Kong is the size of a shoebox you can imagine the living conditions of the maid.

I remember being told a story of an expat who was trying to apply for a work visa for his maid but didnít have room for the maid to live in his home. When applying for the visa the government official refused to give the maid the visa unless she would be provided with living space in the house.

When the expat responded that the house was too small, the official suggested that the maid could perhaps sleep in the kitchen!

Itís quite a sight to see all these women around town and you canít help but feel a bit sorry for them but when you look at their faces they seem to be enjoying themselves and making the most of the scarce free time they have. Good on them!

Source: anotherdayinhongkong.blogspot.com

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved