Hiring a foreign domestic worker or helper (maid) is affordable and often straight-forward in Hong Kong, which is why many families, single parents, or parents caring for their senior family members have live-in helpers who help with general chores and household activities. But one of the main responsibilities of being an employer of a domestic helper is that you are responsible for the safety and well-being of the helper.
On top of offering the most basic cover for your domestic worker in the form of Employee Compensation (EC) insurance coverage, an employer can go beyond to provide greater cover to reduce risks by including other options, such as health insurance, income protection, dental cover, and so forth.
In this article by Kwiksure, we will top-up your knowledge on Employee Compensation insurance coverage, review comprehensive coverage for helpers, and take a look at the plethora of options to help provide additional coverage.
What is Employee Compensation insurance coverage?
Like in many developed countries around the world, Hong Kong has labor laws in place that require employers to carry insurance to protect employees against workplace injuries and accidents. It is important for all employers, especially individuals that intend to hire a domestic worker, to know that EC insurance is mandatory under the Hong Kong Employee’s Compensation Ordinance enacted by the Labour Department.
What does EC Insurance in Hong Kong cover?
EC Insurance in Hong Kong provides cover for any employee who sustains an injury or becomes unexpectedly ill due to job-related tasks. For example, if the domestic helper trips over and sprains an ankle or suffers burns from oil whilst cooking, the EC insurance policy would cover the employer’s liability for the domestic helper's injuries, including their medical bills, medication, sick pay, etc.
Basic EC Insurance versus comprehensive helper insurance
It is well worth noting that as the employer of a domestic worker, the minimum legal requirement in terms of providing coverage for the domestic helper is to secure Employee Compensation Insurance.
Many employers will turn to choose the most basic, Employee Compensation only cover for their domestic helpers. The truth in their choice is that in many known cases, basic plans which offer EC coverage will be significantly cheaper than a more comprehensive plan that yields many sensible and favorable benefits for the employer and domestic helper.
The decision to choose either the basic or comprehensive plan solely falls on the employer, so it is strongly advised for employers to carefully review their fundamental needs but also the needs of the domestic worker. If employers choose to only secure the basic EC insurance policy, they will be left exposed to a substantial amount of risk, especially when employers of domestic workers are required to provide the helper with free medical care and treatment under the terms of a standard employment contract, which is extensively enforced under Hong Kong law.
Extended benefit options - comprehensive compensation coverage
To reduce risk and provide confidence not only to the employer but to the employed domestic helper, there are the added options of enhancing the EC insurance that covers other eventualities that may occur during the domestic helper's employment.
Other extended benefits may include:
- Health insurance
- Personal accident insurance
- Repatriation expenses
- Dental insurance
- Fidelity insurance protection
- Loan protection insurance
- Loss of services allowance
- Replacement expenses
As an employer, if securing the bare minimum EC insurance for the domestic worker is the preferred choice, then there would be no need to consider securing a more extensive insurance plan, as the mandatory requirement of acquiring an EC Insurance is already fulfilled under the law in Hong Kong.
However, for many households that have employed the same one or two domestic helpers for many years, these helpers are more accepted as family members than so-called employees.
As such, it is reasonable to secure a plan which offers higher and broader levels of protection for the domestic worker(s). Again, it is best to review the family’s finances, needs, and requirements when making such decisions to go comprehensive rather than basic.
Generally, the health of domestic helpers will be on the mind of employers. Some, if not most, domestic helpers have families back home in their country of origin that rely on their support and income. If domestic workers were to fall ill due to an age-related problem, then it may be worth considering securing a standalone health insurance plan to protect the domestic helper against the costs of healthcare treatment.
How can Kwiksure help you?
Given the vast amount of domestic helper insurance options on the market, it can be a laborious task picking the best policy. As such, it is best to seek professional advice from an established broker like Kwiksure to get all your questions answered straight away. Contact us today to get free quotes and plan comparisons.