You might have never thought of the benefits of having a helper who manages her finance well. You might even have thought that her being in debts is good for you. This article will tell you why having a helper who can manage her finance is so important to you and your family, and how you can achieve that.
What are the benefits of having a helper who can manage her finance?
You would never want a helper who works for you to be in debt. A worker who is forced to work to pay off her debts can seldom deliver good work performance, and might even show negative emotions that can interrupt her work. A helper that is not in debt is sure that she is fairly paid for her work, and will therefore be happier to work for you. Also, an indebted worker might be tempted to steal to pay off her debts, which is never good for you. As your helper must use your address to apply for a loan, you might receive letters and phone calls from loan sharks, which will cause disturbance to your family.
Your helper might have taken loans to pay off the fees she was made to pay to secure a job in Hong Kong. Employment agencies usually deduct from the helper’s salary for more than half a year to pay off the money she owes the agency. Another case is that the helper agrees to be a guarantor for her friend who is borrowing money. When the friend runs away with the money, your helper has to shoulder all her friend’s debts. The interest of these debts borrowed from loan sharks can be as high as 60% per annum! If that has happened, you might receive a lot of calls and letters in your house, usually threatening. As the employer, it will be very irritating and frightening for you and your family.
How you can help your helper
Your helper usually needs to use a copy of her passport and the employment contract to be able to borrow or be a guarantor. Some employers hide their helpers’ passports to avoid them from borrowing loans, but it is illegal.
Some employers decide to pay off their helper’s debts first and deduct from her salary for a period of time, but it is not sustainable if she does not learn the lesson and decides to borrow again.
Some employers include as one of the unofficial conditions of employment that if the helper is found borrowing loans and being a guarantor, she will be terminated. It can be a good deterrent and also a good excuse she can bring up if she does not want to be a guarantor for her friend. However, without understanding your helper’s financial situation, it might be too rigid and harsh. For example, the helper’s family suddenly needs a large amount of money, maybe to rebuild their house that a typhoon destroys. In this case, the helper has no choice but to take a loan from loan sharks, especially if she does not dare to tell you. Therefore, apart from stating that condition to her very clearly, you should also add that if she suddenly needs money due to unforeseeable circumstances, she should be able to tell you and you two will come up with a plan together.
You could take your helper to open a bank account. You can directly deposit her salary to the account, which is more convenient for you. A bank account can help your domestic helper save more money as she will be less tempted to spend it. Not all banks are equally welcoming to domestic helpers opening bank accounts so it is better when employers accompany their helpers for assistance. Make sure you take the original employment contract so that the bank can verify the address and the legality of the document, also bring the passport and HKID card of the helper. Be aware that most banks require a minimum monthly balance of HK$5,000 or HK$10,000. In order to not waste time, it is best to do a quick research on each bank to see what their rules and conditions are for a domestic helper account and exactly what documents you must provide.
You could also send your helper to financial management courses. The NGO in Hong Kong that is dedicated to this area is Enrich HK. The courses usually include budgeting, and even entrepreneurship and investment. Your helper will not only know how to save and spend money more wisely, she can also put these skills into use when she returns to her home country and get a better return from the money she earns in Hong Kong.