Chinese New Year is a special time of year for many families in Hong Kong, and is also an opportunity for us to acknowledge the significant contributions that domestic workers make in our homes.
Marking the turn of the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year celebrations are all about family and sharing – not to mention great food! Many of us form close bonds with our helpers, who, in a way, become part of the family and part of our various celebrations, whether that includes Christmas, Chinese New Year, Easter, or Mid-Autumn Festival.
These festivities give us a chance to thank our helpers for their hard work – and that’s exactly what many employers in Hong Kong do.
HelperChoice recently surveyed domestic workers across the city and found that Chinese New Year was the most common time of year for helpers to receive gifts from their employers, followed by Christmas. Around half of Hong Kong’s helpers usually receive gifts over Chinese New Year.
If you’re looking for inspiration on what to give, common gifts for helpers include lai see (red envelopes containing cash), buffet coupons, traditional dishes from helpers’ home countries, or new clothes.
Even if you don’t celebrate Chinese New Year, consider giving your helper a gift to show your appreciation. Something small but meaningful that shows how much you care would likely be cherished by your helper.
Remember that all domestic workers in Hong Kong are entitled to three statutory holidays over Chinese New Year: Saturday, 28 January; Monday, 30 January; and Tuesday, 31 January. If you ask your helper to work on any of these days, remember to give him or her alternative rest days as compensation. This also applies if you are going on holiday and taking your helper with you in a working capacity.
Whether you’re staying in Hong Kong or travelling abroad, we hope that you have a wonderful Chinese New Year! Kung hei fat choy!