Standard Working Hours for all workers FADWU’s opinion on Standard Working Hours

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The Standard Working Hours Committee is consulting public opinions on the legislation of Standard Working Hours. We are writing to express our views on the legislation, especially on the situation of domestic workers.

The consultation document addressed that there are countries exclude domestic workers in their SWH regulations. However, there are countries regulating the working hours of domestic work, such as Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, and France etc. The selective information by the committee shows an illusion that domestic workers’ cannot have SWH protection.

Actually, all live-in domestic workers are facing the problem of long working hours. For migrant domestic workers, their standard contract has no terms about the working hours, it allows unlimited extention of working hours of Dws. According to a survey done by PLU*, 52% Filipino domestic workers work more than 16 hours per day. The longest working hours is 21 hours. In fact, migrant domestic workers, no matter their nationality, are facing the same problem.

For local domestic workers, some post-natal care workers are live-in DW. Like migrant domestic workers, they are also 24-hours on-call, and having less rest time.

With the lack of regulation on working hours, the live-in situation of domestic workers give a wrong message to employers that they can order them to work for 24-hours per day. The situation of live-in domestic workers is like many other workers in Hong Kong, or even more badly -- there are no concept of “overtime” for domestic work as there is no “off-work”. The endless working hours for domestic workers harms their health. They don’t have enough sleep and even no time for contacting their families.

One of the reasons that cause the endless working hours of domestic worker, is no regulation on working hours in Hong Kong. We urge the government to launch the Standard Working Hours Ordinance as soon as possible, and the law should cover all workers in Hong Kong - including domestic workers.

The standard working hours for live-in domestic workers should include: (1) standard working hours; (2) overtime extra pay; and (3) minimum rest time. It makes a balance of work and life for the worker, and also ensures the quality of work.

We demand:

The Committee should conduct research on the working hour’s conditions of live-in domestic workers, and submit a propasl to government about the regulation on working hours of domestic workers.
Enact Standard Working Hours Ordinance to all workers in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions

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