After much thought and contention between you and your partner, the final decision has come to hire a domestic helper. Now, with the nitty-gritty over with, the big challenge is to establish how you are going to do just that! With a number of options available to choose from in Hong Kong, which one is best for you, your family, and your domestic needs?
In this article by Kwiksure, we will guide you through 4 credible choices and divulge which one is best for you and your family.
Getting a domestic worker in Hong Kong
Hiring a domestic worker, also known as a maid or domestic helper, in Hong Kong has long been a common tradition for many Asian and expat families, single-parents, or parents caring for their senior family members. Life in Hong Kong can be perceived as fast-paced and hectic for many and having an extra pair of hands can help free up more time for people to go about other things important to them. Therefore, looking for a competent domestic worker for your household will be at the top of your list.
Let’s start with your circumstances
To begin, you will need to confirm which aspect of the hiring process is most important to you? For instance, are you content with dealing with all the paperwork and legalities yourself, or are you looking to save money in the process? Are you comfortable with a personal referral, or are you more confident when professionals are involved in the hiring process?
Here are the 4 choices for hiring a domestic worker, so you can decide which one suits you best.
1. Domestic helper agencies in Hong Kong
If you weren’t aware already, there are more than 1,000 domestic helper employment agencies dotted throughout Hong Kong. With so many available, locating one shouldn’t be difficult, but what you need to note is that hiring styles, business practices, and even the types of domestic workers available to choose from can vary widely between them.
What are the benefits of domestic worker employment agencies?
Generally, the sole purpose of an agency is to help you throughout the hiring process, starting with matching candidates on your behalf, or guiding you through the signing of legal documents at the end of the process.
A credible agency will thoroughly assess your needs to help match you with a competent domestic worker. Also, a good agency would invest time and effort in getting to know you better. In other words, they will try to understand your personality and thought process. After all, a domestic worker needs to be thinking and acting in line with that of the employer, which in this case is you. Agencies offer a number of services, experience, and knowledge, that can help you greatly during the course of your search. If you are content with paying a fee in return for the services of a domestic worker employment agency, then getting a matching domestic worker should be pretty straightforward.
What to watch out for when using a domestic worker employment agency
Our advice here is to do your due diligence on each employment agency. The industry is known to harbor hundreds of agencies that operate unethically. Many of whom are run without a license and many charge absurd fees that are themselves illegal. Always check the reviews of each agency and discuss openly the credentials of the domestic workers.
2. Online domestic worker search platforms
If you are digitally sophisticated or just want to look from the comfort of your home, some online platforms will offer services that will connect you with a domestic worker right away. For a reasonable monthly service fee, a number of websites including asiaXPAT and HelperChoice allow you to search through a database of domestic worker profiles for potential matches. Once you have found a candidate, you can make direct contact and set up a meeting or interview.
What are the benefits of using online domestic worker search platforms?
Firstly, if you know what you are looking for in a domestic worker, then having a large database will make it easier to pin down the right candidate and make comparisons. The choice is yours to choose from in this case. Also, you cut out the representatives that you may not want to deal with.
What’s the downside to online search platforms?
With a large database to choose from, unless you know exactly what you need in a domestic worker, you may feel overwhelmed due to the number of candidates available. One can easily be fooled into thinking they have the right candidate, given that their profiles are often self-populated. The best advice here is to ask as many questions as possible about their previous jobs and the reasons for any broken contracts.
3. Online referrals from social media and other sources
In a world where we are fully exposed to many online digital channels, the ability to source a domestic worker can be done from simple forums or even webpages from dedicated Facebook groups. A lot of people will personally endorse their domestic workers, often with high praise and positive reviews. Finding a domestic worker through these online channels might suit you if having a supportive reference and being able to connect to a helper’s previous employer is of great importance to you and your convenience.
Best tip for choosing the online referral route
When approaching this route it is important to be aware of scams or false endorsements. Words can describe someone as perfect for any household, but until they perform it will be hard to grasp whether they are a suitable candidate. Additionally, with such strong endorsements online, these domestics helpers can be more choosy. Demand may be high from households, which gives domestic workers the leverage to demand higher in return, whether that’s salary or benefits. Take away one thing, just because a helper was perfect for one family, doesn’t necessarily make her perfect for your family.
4. Personal referrals
You may have friends or people that you know that will personally recommend a specific domestic worker to you, often with much enthusiasm. Due to your trust, the recommendation may sound very appealing knowing that someone you know personally has given positive feedback on the domestic worker. You may have even come across the domestic worker before and have seen how they are. This approach not only saves you time, effort, and money in your search, but you are confident in knowing that the recommended domestic worker could be a good fit into your household.
Always screen your personal referrals
Never judge the book from its front cover, especially when choosing a domestic worker that has been recommended by friends. It is vital to interview the referred domestic helper to make sure the person is a good match for your particular household. Remember that your preferences are not enough, and you must also take into account the needs of the domestic worker. Some of the domestic worker’s needs may be to receive the basic cover in the form of Employee Compensation (EC) insurance coverage.
Every household’s circumstances are different and never the same
Your friends can have different helper preferences, household set up, rules, managing styles, family dynamics, schedules, children, pets, and activities. These may differ to you so be clear during the interview process what you expect, and ascertain if the referred domestic worker can support your needs.
What is Employee Compensation insurance coverage?
Hong Kong has labor laws in place that require employers to carry insurance to protect employees (domestic workers) 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.
How can Kwiksure help you?
No matter the route you take to hire a domestic worker in Hong Kong, one thing you are obliged to do is to secure domestic worker insurance.
Given the vast amount of domestic worker insurance options on the market, it can be a laborious task choosing the best policy that matches the needs of the domestic worker and your budget. 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.