It is important to offer your domestic helper a proper living quarter so that she can gain enough rest after a long day working. But things get a tad more complicated when it comes to the accommodation arrangement as foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong or Singapore are required to live with their employers.
HelperChoice investigated the most common living arrangements for domestic helpers in Hong Kong. The survey exposes that a large majority (70%) of the job offers include a private room, 16% a room shared with a kid and 10% a room shared with another domestic worker. And a survey conducted by an NGO in Singapore reveals that about 60% of domestic helpers in the country have their private room.
Domestic helper accommodation requirement
If you decide to make the leap and hire a domestic helper, keep in mind that your domestic worker must enjoy adequate living conditions – i.e. decent, comfortable with adequate privacy for the helper – no matter how limited the living space is.
Provide the helper with basic amenities
An employer should at least provide a mattress, pillow, blanket, storage space, bathroom amenities and toiletries. Some furniture stores offer clever storage solutions in the form of storage space and compartments integrated at the bottom of custom-made beds to maximize space use.
Most domestic helper rooms have no windows – this can be problematic. There are multiple solutions to make up for the lack of proper natural ventilation and ensure that hot temperatures are bearable.
Let your domestic helper sleep in the living room
Some employers ask their helper to sleep on a sofa in the living room. This is not advised as the helper does not have enough privacy. If you really have no choice, you might want to partition the living room by using folding screens – they can be removed easily – or thick curtains or even blinds as temporary room dividers.
Let your helper share room with an adult or teenager of the opposite sex
This is against legal domestic helper accommodation requirements.
Install video cameras at the helper’s sleeping or charging area
Although the law does not prohibit employers from installing video cameras at home, you should inform your domestic helper of the devices and where they are placed, even by a written record to avoid any disputes. You must not install video cameras in areas that will compromise her privacy or modesty, e.g. where she sleeps, change clothes, or the bathroom area.
Get a custom made bed for helper room
Given the size of helper rooms (maid rooms) in many Hong Kong or Singapore homes, it is often impossible to fit in an adult-sized single bed. The good news here is that it is possible to buy a custom-made helper bed. Pricerite and Takad Furniture in Hong Kong offer clever storage solutions in the form of storage space and compartments integrated at the bottom of custom made beds to maximize space use. In Singapore, there are online providers that you can order custom made bed with extra storage below the bed.