Domestic Helper Statutory Holidays 2019: Everything You Need to Know
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You are currently hiring a domestic worker or already hired one, and you are now a bit lost when it comes to domestic helper holidays. You may not know it but there is actually a clear distinction between Statutory Holidays and General Holidays (Public Holidays) in Hong Kong. Here is a guide to help you navigate through your domestic helper’s holidays in 2019.
Statutory holidays are mandatory holidays for domestic helpers according to the Hong Kong law – all foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong are entitled to the 12 statutory holidays annually regardless of their length of service. Even if your domestic helper has worked for you for only one day, she is still entitled to the statutory holiday.
The list of Hong Kong statutory holidays 2019
- The first day of January (1 January 2019)
- Lunar New Year’s Day (5 February 2019)
- The second day of Lunar New Year (6 February 2019)
- The third day of Lunar New Year (7 February 2019)
- Ching Ming Festival (5 April 2019)
- Labour Day (1 May 2019)
- Tuen Ng Festival or Dragon Boat Festival (7 June 2019)
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (1 July 2019)
- The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (14 September 2019)
- China National Day (1 October 2019)
- Chung Yeung Festival (7 October 2019)
- Chinese Winter Solstice Festival (22 December 2019) or Christmas Day (25 December 2019), at the option of the employer
Rules about domestic helper statutory holidays in Hong Kong
It is up to you to decide whether you should give your domestic helper the day off on General Holidays, but it is always nice to give them the day off if you are not working yourself and don’t need them.
However, clear rules exist and apply when it comes to Statutory Holidays in Hong Kong:
- Statutory Holidays are mandatory i.e. you must give your domestic helper the day off.
- They are mandatory irrespective of the length of service i.e. no matter if your domestic helper has been with you for 2 years or only 2 days, she must have the day off.
- If your domestic helper has been with you for at least 3 months under a continuous contract, she is entitled to paid statutory holidays. If she has been with you for less than 3 months she is entitled to statutory holidays. However, in such a case, it is strictly up to you to decide whether you want to pay her or not.
- All statutory holidays must be taken off i.e. you cannot pay your domestic helper to work on a statutory holiday (even if you pay her extra). Note that any payment made in lieu of statutory holidays can result in a fine.
- If for some reasons, you need your domestic helper to work on a statutory holiday, you must give her at least a 48 hours’ prior notice and arrange an alternative holiday within a 2-month period before or after the statutory holiday.
- Should the statutory holiday fall on your domestic helper’s usual rest day, you should grant her a mandatory holiday either on the following day, which is not a statutory holiday, or you can also choose to grant her an alternative holiday, a substituted holiday, or a rest day. Simply put, you are not allowed to let your domestic helper take her rest day when it is a statutory holiday. Note that this shouldn’t happen on a Sunday because the statutory holidays will then automatically be moved to the following Monday.
What about the general holidays (public holidays)?
Besides the 12 statutory holidays, Hong Kong has another 5 general holidays on which most employees are free: Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Monday, Buddha’s Birthday and Boxing Day (December 26).
You are not required to give your domestic helper general holidays (public holidays). You can decide to also give your domestic helper the general holiday off so she can recharge as it may also boost the work morale.