Hiring a helper can be a stressful process but it can drastically ease your workload in this often-hectic city. There are two options available when it comes to domestic help in Hong Kong: local and foreign. Local helpers are existing Hong Kong residents (often from the Mainland or Hong Kong Chinese), and can be hired part-time or full-time. Foreign helpers tend to come from either the Philippines or from Indonesia and legally require two-year full-time live-in contracts. Young families often prefer to hire full-time live-in helpers to cook, clean and care for their children.
The Role of a Domestic Helper
A domestic helper can perform household tasks like washing, cleaning, laundry, ironing, cooking and other small chores. They can also be employed to take care of children’s health and wellbeing or to provide care assistance. A domestic helper can help children to bathe, dress and eat, or look after an elderly person, giving medication, providing special food requirements, evening walks and more. The exact role can differ from house to house, and from employer to employer. Sometimes, a domestic helper can be required to perform tasks like sending kids to and from school, cooking, cleaning the house and taking care of a family pet.
Hiring Through an Agency
Using an agency is often much easier than trying to find a helper on your own, and there are many agencies in Hong Kong that offer assistance to those looking to hire a domestic helper. Agencies have huge databases of prospective candidates, both foreign and local.
A reputable agency keeps a detailed record of each helper, including a history of their previous employment and reasons for their last termination. This employment history will help you hire with confidence and find your best match.
Hiring Without an Agency
Hiring directly brings the freedom to choose a domestic helper that suits you and your family. You can interview as many helpers as you like, and even set up a trial session in your home. Searching for a helper through an agency can often mean you are provided with only a shortlist of candidates, and it can be difficult to judge purely on their paperwork. Also, hiring directly can be cheaper, as you will avoid any of the agency costs.
Interviewing a prospective helper is the most important step of all. They need to win your trust to be hired. Make a list of questions with everything you want to know ahead of time. Some essential information to consider during the interview process:
- Never stop the interview half-way through, even if you have already made a decision about the candidate.
- You must cross-check that he or she fulfils all your requirements, and agrees to your rules before accepting the job.
- Ask questions about previous work experience and the candidate’s skills and weaknesses.
- Understand the candidate’s expectations of the job, and ask them to rate themselves on how trustworthy and reliable they are.
- Give them a tour around the house, including the kitchen, store room, bathroom and any other place they will be required to work.
- Go through each task that the helper has to perform. Give specific details about the way you want them to be done.
- Talk about the living arrangements and any house rules you may have in place.
- Discuss time management. Explain to the candidate how every task should be performed, and the time frame you expect these to be completed in. This can be one of the most important processes.
Be sure that your helper is happy in their job because an unhappy worker will never live up to your expectations. Domestic helpers need to be physically fit and must be skilled in management. They also need to be medically fit, as there can be physical tasks.
Preparing for Work
- Introduce your family to the helper, let them get to know each other and ask questions.
- Make sure to fully explain your expectations and requirements.
- Make sure the helper fully understands their role and duties.
- Provide your help with their own room of adequate size and ensure that it is clean and safe.
- Set a pattern or schedule a range of things to clean each day, and what meals are to be prepared on certain days.
Though domestic helpers are required to leave the country at the end of their contract, it is possible for them to start a new contract without returning to their own country. You should still allow three to four weeks for this procedure between the consulate and immigration department. Only decide on your helper’s start date after their visa has been processed.
This information was provided by Helper Place