What Is Domestic Helper Home Leave? Is It Different from Annual Leave?

Home leave (or vacation leave) must be taken by every domestic helper when finishing a 2-year contract

Upon completion of the current contract and the commencement of the new contract, the helper must return to her home country for a vacation leave (home leave) of at least 7 days. However, whether this is paid or unpaid vacation leave depends on the terms agreed upon in Clause 13 of the standard employment contract.

If employers opted for unpaid home leave at the time of signing the contracts, they may decide to give their helper paid leave, but if you opted for paid home leave, you must follow this as stated in the contract and cannot change your mind. The employment contract covers all aspects of the helper’s employment and it is important that employers are aware of their contractual obligations such as the food allowance and what to do with the helper when they are not in Hong Kong.


What is the difference between home leave and annual leave?

Both are mandatory, your domestic helper’s home leave should not be included in her annual leave. As such, at the end of the contract, a helper should enjoy the remaining annual leave days she is entitled to, plus the home leave.

A domestic helper is entitled to both home leave and annual leave

You can defer this home leave if needed

If you are hiring a finished contract helper and want her to start right after getting the new working visa, or you are renewing your current helper’s contract, you can defer this leave within one year of the commencement date instead. For example, if the contract officially starts on 1 September 2018, the helper will have to take at least 7 days home leave to her home-country before 1 September 2019. 


Who should pay for the journey?

At the end of an employment contract, the employer in the current contract is responsible for paying the helper all transportation to the home country, including flights and any other means to take the helpers to their hometown. If the domestic helper is deferring the home leave, we recommend you to give her an open-date ticket to fulfil your responsibility.

The cost of the one-way trip from the home country to Hong Kong should be paid by the employer in the new contract.


Extra: Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)

All Filipino domestic helpers taking holidays in their home country are required to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) issued by the Philippine government. The OEC (sometimes called an ‘exit permit’) is to make sure the domestic helper has a valid contract and visa in the country of employment. Your helper needs the OEC to exit the Philippines. Please note that the OEC is only valid for 60 days from the date of issuance and for a single exit from the Philippines.

To apply for an OEC, the domestic helper should first register for an account and make an appointment on the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System (http://www.bmonline.ph/) for processing.

  • If the helper is a finished contract helper transferring to a new employer, she can choose to process the OEC at The Philippine Overseas Labor (POLO) Office in Hong Kong.
  • If the helper is returning to the same employer and the same job place after home leave, she is qualified for OEC Exemption. In this case, the helper is required to print the online system confirmation message and bring it with her.