Housekeeping Assistant/Hourly Helper 2022 - Hourly Wages, Insurance Coverage and Other Things You Need to Know
With the epidemic still with us, hiring foreign domestic helpers is becoming more and more challenging, and on top of that, it is necessary to consider issues such as meal and accommodation expenses when hiring foreign helpers. As a result, more families are turning to housekeeping assistants (also known as hourly helpers) for regular help with household chores. But did you know that as an employer, you need to get insurance coverage for your housekeeping assistant as well?
In this Kwiksure article, we’ll take a look at the scope of work of housekeeping assistants, their hourly rates, and insurance coverage.
Housekeeping Assistants: Their Scope of Work and Hourly Rates
Housekeeping assistants are generally responsible for vacuuming and mopping the floor, tidying up the place, washing and ironing clothes, cleaning bathrooms (i.e. the toilet, sink, bathtub, shower area) and the kitchen (i.e. the exhaust fan, stove, sink, refrigerator, ceramic tiles), and other household chores. Cooking, however, is usually not part of the package, so you can expect to have to pay extra for cooking on top of cleaning.
The going rate is about HK$100 to HK$250 per hour, depending on the assistant's experience, employer's budget, and size of the home, and there is usually a minimum charge equal to 3 hours’ wage. Typically, a 400 - 800 ft unit will take 4 - 5 hours, while units over 800 ft will take more than 5 hours to clean.
On top of that, the service time slot (such as before 9:00 a.m., or during peak seasons such as just before the Chinese New Year) and location (if it is remote such as in an outlying island) will also have a bearing on the fee levels.
Do you need to get housekeeping assistants insured too?
As a matter of fact, whether you are hiring housekeeping assistants, postnatal caregivers or caregivers specializing in taking care of newborn babies or the elderly, and though their jobs are part-time in nature and they are paid by the hour, you are required to take out an insurance policy under Section 40 of the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, to cover the employer's liability in the event of accidental death or injury of the assistant while on the job. Failure to do so may result in a fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for 2 years.
That is true even if you hire your hourly helper through one of the popular platforms such as HelperGo, Lazy App, or Toby: you still need to purchase labour insurance or domestic helper insurance yourself, because these platforms will not help you secure insurance.
4 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Domestic Helper Insurance
- Before you apply, remember to check what types of housework are covered by the insurance, because no compensation will be available for types of work outside of the descriptions. Be sure, also, to check the age limit for the helper (typically 60 or 65 years of age).
- The most basic domestic helper insurance, also known as "employee compensation insurance" or "labour insurance", usually charges a premium of around HK$300. These plans can already compensate the employee with up to HK$100 million per accident. Some plans will cover the loss of life or damage to property suffered by third parties, caused by accident or negligence on the part of the helper.
- Remember that each labour insurance policy will only cover one address. In other words, if you have several homes that need to be cleaned by a housekeeping assistant, you will need to buy an insurance policy for each and every of your homes, otherwise the assistant will not be covered while working at the site.
- Insurance companies pay special attention to whether a housekeeping assistant has received formal training.
- Different insurance plans are needed for different types of work, so remember to carefully check the exact types of work covered before purchasing. To give you an example, postnatal caregivers or caregivers who take care of the elderly already require protection plans different from those required by the general housekeeping assistant.