Mutual Care During Covid-19 5th Wave
As Hong Kong battles the COVID-19 fifth wave, it is understandable many are anxious about their health and that of their loved ones – particularly young children and elderly parents.
Stress mounts for many Hong Kong parents who are working from home, and supporting their children with online learning at the same time. For households who employ Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs), there has not been a more critical time than now – when the latter’s support is so vital and valuable.
As MDWs support our families and care for our children, what can employers do to support them – particularly when social restrictions are tight; and MDWs are homebound for most part of the day, including their day-off.
Showing care towards our MDWs is a great place to start!
Working 6 days a week and being at the employer’s home even on rest days, can be very challenging for anyone. For MDWs who are far away from home with prolonged separation from their loved ones, the stress can be compounded.
Encourage your MDW to take short breaks throughout the day. When the situation permits, allow her to go out for fresh air, such as taking walks at the park. Let her connect with her family and friends during break time. It will do wonders to help her feel less isolated.
Caring promotes a positive employer-employee relationship too. Having frequent conversations with your MDW to ask how she is doing is a simple and powerful gesture to show you care.
If your MDW contracts COVID during this time, support her by ensuring she has sufficient rest and nourishing food. Just as it is illegal for employers to dismiss an employee when she is pregnant and/or on maternity leave, an employee cannot be dismissed when she is on sick leave.
All employees, including MDWs, are entitled to paid sick leave. MDWs are entitled to 2 paid sick leave for each month during the first 12 months of continuous employment. After that, they are entitled to 4 paid sick leave for each month of service. Paid sick leave can be accumulated up to a maximum of 120 days.
With everyone in Hong Kong experiencing such a challenging time right now, let’s take small steps to show kindness and care for the people around us – particularly the MDWs who help and care for our families daily.
You can reach out to PathFinders for more information and support on foreign domestic workers’ pregnancy rights in Hong Kong.