From January 1, 2017 (Sunday), all foreign domestic helpers who sign contracts to work in Hong Kong will no longer need to clean the exteriors of windows.
The new clause stipulates that, when an employer requires the helper to clean the outside of any window which is not located on the ground level or adjacent to a balcony (on which it must be reasonably safe for the helper to work) or common corridor, this must be performed under the following conditions:
(i) the window being cleaned is fitted with a grille which is locked or secured in a manner that prevents the grille from being opened; and
(ii) no part of the helper’s body extends beyond the window ledge except the arms.
Agencies were asked to ensure that employers read this part of the contract and understand it before signing.
Following the deaths of several helpers, domestic workers in Hong Kong have been protesting in recent months to have window cleaning removed from their list of duties.
In August 2016, a 35-year-old Filipino domestic worker fell to her death while cleaning – the fourth such fatality this year, according to some sources.