Hong Kong is known as a city that never sleeps. It’s a city that is always changing and developing. A population of 7 million-plus residents. What people do not talk about is how busy the city is. Almost every adult in Hong Kong is working from morning to evening and lives a busy lifestyle focused on work and earning. This results in leaving little time for the things that need to be taken care of at home for example – cooking, cleaning, childcare and other domestic errands. Unfortunately, the busy lifestyle does not make this easy, as both partners need to work to cope up with fast and expensive city demands to provide the best life to their families.
Living in Hong Kong sounds tough, doesn’t it?- This is why nearly all Hong Kong residents have hired saviours that are known as domestic helpers, nannies, housekeepers or maids. It is believed that Hong Kong would not be able to survive without these silent heroes, as they are the backbone of many Hong Kong homes.
The Domestic Helper may perform some or all of their duties while the employer is at work. These domestic helpers make life much easier and manageable for an average working Hong Kong resident. Their duties involve cleaning, cooking, taking care of the children in the family, and shopping for their needs. They are also at risk of danger like every employee in Hong Kong. This is why every employer must have domestic helper insurance in Hong Kong according to the HK Labour Department when hiring a helper. This article will explain why it is important to purchase the best Domestic Helper insurance to protect yourself and your family.
What is Domestic Helper Insurance?
Census and the Statistics Department (Government Statistic) state – “the percentage of households employing foreign domestic helpers increased from 87.9% in 2000 to 92.2% in 2019/20”.The government has projected a total need of 600,000 migrant domestic workers by 2047. In 2018, they contributed USD 12.6 billion (HKD 98.9 billion) to Hong Kong’s economy, representing 3.6% of the GDP.
Most domestic helpers have moved away from their home country to Hong Kong to earn money for their families in their home country and work 6 days a week. Performing all the duties that are expected of a domestic helper can have its risks, which could be injuries, illness, and more.
Every Domestic helper needs insurance when they are employed in Hong Kong. The domestic helper insurance provides the helper accidental and medical protection they need and helps the employer to meet the agreement to be a responsible and caring employer. This insurance helps protect the domestic helper and the employer from unforeseen accidents or even fraud caused by the helper.
Reasons For High-Quality Domestic Helper insurance
1. Employee Compensation– (Injuries At Work)
Domestic helpers may be heroes but are still humans that are vulnerable to injuries. These injuries could happen anytime while they are performing duties for their employer. It could be from cutting themselves while cooking or falling when they are cleaning the home. These injuries can be serious and result in rushing to a hospital. It will be the employer’s duty to pay for their recovery and care. An unfortunate and horrific example of employees injured at work is the many cases in Hong Kong where helpers cleaning windows have fallen to their death. Not all injuries can be fixed with a simple bandage and may add up to a big financial bill.
Employee compensation is part of the domestic helper insurance, that covers the domestic helper when they suffer an injury or illness while working and performing duties that were instructed by the employer. The example mentioned, of the helper falling to her death will also be covered under employee compensation. This part of the insurance will cover all medical bills that have resulted from an injury at work. It is the basic role of domestic helper insurance and crucial for the domestic helper and the employer. It only covers injuries when they are working and not injuries they suffer on their days off.
2. Medical Protection-(Injuries and Sickness at Any time)
It is important for domestic helpers to be safe wherever they are and whatever they are doing. Although we all know how safe we try to be, some accidents and mistakes do happen surprisingly. Accidents could be anything from the domestic helper slipping and breaking a bone when she is on her day off to something more life-threatening like a disease or getting hit by a car. Especially due to the pandemic the risk of illness has increased and can result in hospitalisation of the domestic helper. This again could cost the employer a large medical bill and financial loss.
High-quality domestic helper insurance will cover these risks and provide medical protection for the domestic helper in case of such a serious injury. The insurance will also cover hospitalisation expenses due to critical illness. This factor provides the helper medical protection no matter when and where she is during the period of employment. Another crucial part of high-quality medical insurance is that when the domestic helper is hospitalised for more than 5 days, the insurance company will provide a daily cash subsidy to the helper (depending on the insurance company).
3. Protection From Third Party Liability
Like any person, domestic helpers are unpredictable and actions cannot always be controlled. Although, how they act or what they do, in the end, the employer is liable for their actions and will have to pay the consequences too. Third-party liability can either be physical damage or property damage caused by your staff, accidental.
The domestic helper insurance will provide protection from these surprising incidents on the third party. The insurer will pay for the costs involved. These incidents may be unlikely, but it is always better to be safe with good domestic helper insurance, as accidents can happen anytime. This will help the employer reduce financial risks and also gives peace of mind if, in the future, an unlucky accident is caused by the helper.
4. Expenses For Helper To Return To Her Country (Emergency)
There are times when a domestic helper has to return to her home country due to drastic health reasons. The employer must send and pay for the helpers travelling home due to their health or termination of the contract. When sending a helper home, it can be expensive depending on the time and health issue. In the worst case, it is possible the helper may pass away in Hong Kong and it will be the employer’s duty to send back the remains to the helper’s home country and the family, which can cost more than HKD 10,000.
In these horrible case scenarios, the domestic helper insurance will help the employer pay for flight tickets to their home country and will cover all costs involved in any case. Although the reason for the helper going back home must be medical related.
5. Fidelity Protection
A domestic helper is like any employee as there is a risk of them not being who they are. A company hires employees after maybe 1- 3 interviews- then are shared company secrets and work. A domestic helper is the same, they are in charge of a large amount of the house, children, and sometimes even bank cards. It is unlikely, but possible that the helper may not be as honest as desired. This is something an employer will only find out when it is too late. These dishonest acts mainly include stealing from the employer.
Domestic helper insurance provides fidelity protection from these risks and dishonest crimes. As the insurance will cover whatever has been stolen and the cost of replacing the door lock. Some insurance will also provide re-hiring expenses when the employer fires the current domestic helper due to these reasons. It is important to purchase high coverage insurance to protect yourself too, as it is almost impossible to forecast how the domestic helper will act in the future.
Domestic Helper Insurance Benefits for Everyone
Helper Feels Protected And Cared For
A basic mandatory domestic helper insurance only provides employee compensation and basic medical care. High-quality domestic helper insurance will provide all the factors listed above and more. Domestic helper insurance is a great investment as it can help both parties and through many situations. An employer needs to explain to the domestic helper that she is covered and that she is taken care of during the period of employment. This gives the helper satisfaction that she is cared for and will be appreciated for her duties. This could increase their motivation to work for the employer and feel at ease knowing she is protected.
Most families are fortunate to find helpers that are hardworking, kind, and trustworthy. Although at first helpers could be either a blessing or a curse to the family as they are strangers on day one. It can go either way and it is a risk one has to take in Hong Kong. Domestic helper insurance protects employers from risks that come along as for any employee. And if things get bad, the employer does not have to worry As the insurance will mitigate their financial loss and take actions to make sure the family is safe.
The highest quality protection will still cost less than HKD 1,000 per year. Many factors make purchasing high-quality domestic helper insurance a good choice. The value of the insurance is defined by the amount it will cover for the employer and the helper. Therefore it is important to buy the best quality for the best outcome and protection. It is an investment for a better and safer tomorrow. As we never know what could happen to these silent heroes who serve our homes and our needs in Hong Kong.