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Ethical employment: Four things to consider when welcoming a domestic helper to your home

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By Julie Delignon

Many people in Hong Kong employ domestic helpers, ladies (and sometimes gentlemen) who look after their homes and families, and provide assistance with day-to-day life. It’s important to remember that being an employer means you are responsible for the wellbeing and safety of your helper. Here are a few things you should know to support your helper and build a healthy relationship with her…

1. Choose the right medical insurance
Employers are responsible for providing their helpers with free medical treatment including consultations, hospital expenses and emergency dental treatment when required. Since medical costs can be unforeseen and highly expensive, it is advisable to take out an insurance policy that also includes comprehensive medical and hospital coverage.

2. Teach your helper basic safety measures
Your helper’s work safety is essential. There are many hidden dangers such as falling from heights, electric shocks or even robberies that can happen to your helper. It’s therefore a good idea to give her instructions on how to deal with potential hazardous situations and provide her with safety equipment.

3. Upskill your domestic helper
To make the most of having a domestic helper, you need to coach her at home. You can also consider sending her to professionally-run training courses. If you would like your helper to cook western food, learn first-aid basics or improve on housework, there are dedicated class across Hong Kong that can help.

4. Communicate with respect
Establishing a positive and respectful relationship with your domestic helper through communication is important. Correct your helper if she is doing something wrong, but also encourage him/ her by giving compliments on jobs that she is doing well.

Remember, as an employer, it is important to train your foreign domestic helper well and keep her safe so that she can do the job well. In order to develop good relationships, try to step into her shoes and listen so that she stays motivated.


Julie Delignon works for Helper Choice, a social-oriented platform connecting employers and helpers across Hong Kong. For more information, visit www.helperchoice.com.

Image courtesy of Helper Choice

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