There are no standard working hours for helpers – or anyone else – in Hong Kong, but that doesn’t always mean you should let your helper work overnight.
Babies may cry during the night and after a week of little sleep, you may feel like you are going crazy. Your husband is of no help because he sleeps through it all or he has a job that requires him to be very alert. Luckily, in Hong Kong, many families have domestic helpers who can assist in this case.
Having your helper take baby care duty overnight
Of course, your helper is there to help you and to make your life easier. But you also want her to be fit so she can do her daily tasks well. On top of that you don’t want to give her the feeling that you are exploiting her either. So you want to show her you’re grateful for her help.
But how? There is no exact formula to help you decide what to do, but here are some considerations suggested by savvy employers.
Frequency: how often does she work overnight?
How often does your helper get up in the middle of the night to care for your baby? Do you do it six nights a week and does she do it once? Or does your helper take care of the baby most of the time? How important is it for you that your helper gets up and stays with the baby? With other words, you will have to decide on the importance of this job in relation to her other tasks. Your helper needs her rest if she wants to do her job well, regardless of whether or not you pay her some extra money.
Letting her sleep in
One way how you could compensate your helper for working overnight is by simply giving her the morning off so she can catch up on her sleep. Especially if your helper only stayed up with the baby for one night. If, however, your helper stays with the baby most nights of the week, extra compensation may be a nice gesture.
Giving some extra money, a bonus or a pay rise?
Yes, you hired a helper to assist you, but at the same time, it is much harder to work overnight after having taken care of the house during the day. Other employers have various ways of rewarding the helper. Some suggest to give her some extra money to say thank you. Others suggest that a bonus at the end of the month may be better so the helper also stays motivated. Finally, some employers may decide to give their helper a salary increase after she has taken care of for a couple of months.
Feel comfortable with your decision
So ultimately, it is your choice. That may not what you want to hear, but every situation is different and every helper also responds differently. Some may offer themselves to take care of the baby overnight, while others may reluctantly do so. In any case, sit down with the helper and discuss your envisioned arrangements with her. See how she responds and take it from there.