Hiring a domestic helper for household chores and responsibilities has become the norm rather than the exception in the hectic life of a modern Hong Kong family. The situation has arisen where you have decided you need the live-in help of a foreign domestic helper. You already have your hands full, how do you go about the hiring process with as much ease as possible? Read on for 5 tips to make your hiring journey easier.
1. Choose a good agency that meets your needs
Choosing a maid agency that is reliable is the crucial first step to your helper hiring process. The agency is there to help you pair up with someone whom you can work with. Make sure that the agency is licensed and have the proper registration with the Department of Labour and Employment. Look into their online presence, website and customer reviews to get a good picture of the quality of their services. The agency should take into consideration your specific needs (such a maid experienced in caring for young children or pets) and provide you with suitable matches.
2. Save money by hiring directly
You can always choose to hire directly if you are not comfortable with relying on a third party to negotiate the hiring process. Hiring directly can also help you save a substantial amount of consultation fee to the maid agency. However, keep in mind that by hiring directly, you would need to be responsible for all the paperwork and arrangement that goes along with the employment, such as:
- Book a flight for the helper’s arrival
- Arrange for a work permit and visa
- Buying personal accident/medical insurance/security bond for your helper
- Sending helper for a medical examination within a few days of her employment
- Setting up a bank account for the helper to access
3. Know the skills you would like your domestic helper to have
The key to finding the ideal domestic helper for your household is to have a clear set of requirements and skills that you would like your domestic helper to have. These skills may include the ability to speak a certain language, good cooking skills, experience with childcare, proper knowledge of etiquette and many others. Knowing the skills and specifying them before hiring your domestic help can streamline your hiring process. Moreover, finding a domestic helper that satisfies all your requirements can help ensure you get along with each other.
4. Plan your budget
Understand that hiring a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong can be a costly business. Therefore, it is best to plan your budget to allow for the costs that could incur from hiring a helper. Bear in mind that you would be responsible for the costs of:
- The wage of the domestic helper (no lower than the minimum allowable wage)
- Food allowance
- Domestic helper insurance
- Travel and training
- Consulting fee for maid agency (if applicable)
- Bonus costs
It is best to plan for a budget that accounts for the entire year. A good plan is to begin the budget from the hiring process to the end of one year of employment to stay prepared for the costs.
5. Obtain proper insurance for your domestic helper
The Labour Department of Hong Kong mandates employers to subscribe to Employee Compensation Insurance, which you can obtain at quite affordable prices. However, the most basic insurances only cover accidental injuries that your domestic helper might suffer while working. These packages do not cover the costs associated with healthcare, loan protection, personal accident insurance, etc. As employers of domestic helpers in Hong Kong are responsible for all medical costs of the employee, going for an advanced insurance package that provides coverage for all aforementioned aspects is a good way to save money in the long run.
Domestic helper insurance is easy to obtain in Hong Kong through insurance brokers and the annual premium for basic plans start from around HK$300. MoneyHero helps you compare the annual premiums and coverage of domestic helper insurances to help you choose one that best suits your needs.
Be a proactive and responsible employer
Even with following all these tips, situations can still arise where things do not work out between you and your domestic helper. However, responsibility falls on your part to do your best in creating and maintaining a sustainable and harmonious relationship with your helper. Keep her interests in mind and make sure that she has adequate rest. Remember that this is a two-way street and you get in return what you give. Be responsible and proactive, and you should be able to witness a glorious work-relationship bloom between you and your domestic helper.