Your summer holidays are getting closer and you are planning to travel with your family. Have you thought about your helper’s activities when you are out of town? You may let her stay at home in Hong Kong, take her with you on vacation or give her the opportunity to enjoy her annual leave at her home country. In any case, you have to anticipate and make sure you will fully enjoy your vacation without any wondering about your helper.
Option 1: Let your helper stay in Hong Kong
If you decide to leave your helper at home in Hong Kong while you are on vacation, you probably wonder what she’ll do there alone with a lot of extra free time. You may take this opportunity to show your appreciation and give her some additional rest days. Of course, you can ask her to perform some deep-cleaning tasks she doesn’t usually have time for such as cleaning the cupboards, laundering the curtains or doing some sewing works. Prepare a clear task list and a schedule, and make sure she understands what you expect from her.
You may also encourage her to use the extra free time to improve some skills. Why not offering her some training? This would be a good time to try the HelperChoice Academy training program.
Don’t forget to set some rules while you are away from home and let your domestic helper know where you stand when it comes to having visitors over. Remind her that undertaking part-time work is strictly forbidden – both of you could end up getting in trouble – nor is she allowed to live out while you are away. Highlight that you will be contacting her on a regular basis to ensure that all is well.
Option 2: Take your helper on vacation with you
You may want to find a way to reward your domestic helper for her hard work by offering her a vacation with you. In this case, you need to anticipate your helper’s tourist visa processing time as each destination country has its own visa requirements. Note that according to the Standard Employment Contract, your helper shall not work while travelling abroad with you.
First things first, ask your helper if she wants to travel with you, she may have other preferences. Then, you have to check whether her passport is valid for at least 6 months and start investigating the tourist visa requirements. These are very different from a country to another as is the time required to process the visa (from few days to few weeks). We suggest you check with your destination country’s consulate in Hong Kong if there are any special requirements for foreign domestic helpers to apply for a tourist visa. You might need to purchase her a travel insurance if your helper insurance does not cover the destination.
Before departure, make sure she has everything she needs for travel with you e.g. appropriate clothing and prepare her for the culture of the destination country and the behaviour that she should adopt.
Once at the destination, she will discover new places, see different lifestyles or participate in new activities and will surely be thrilled about it.
Option 3: Give your helper the opportunity to go back to her home country
Foreign domestic workers make huge sacrifices to earn a living in Hong Kong and offer a better future to their family members, so she would be very grateful if you grant her extra paid holidays to spend with her family or pay for her flight ticket to go back home (if you can afford it, employers are not required to offer their helpers a flight ticket for annual leave). This would mean a lot to her! However, make sure this gift really makes your helper happy before buying tickets: sometimes, going back home means spending a lot of money to please her relatives, money she won’t keep for savings to achieve her projects for the future.
Whatever you choose, good anticipation will help you to ensure stress-free holidays!