Hand In Hand Charter: Promoting C189 with the foreign domestic workers
We are Hong Kong citizens of different organizations and backgrounds. On the day of International Domestic Workers’ Day, we are releasing the charter in an attempt to fight against the discrimination against the foreign domestic workers, to promote the social harmony and a fairer society.
Foreign domestic workers, as well as the other working class people in Hong Kong, have made a tremendous contribution to the development of economy, society and culture of Hong Kong. They are the members of the Hong Kong society that we should be impartial, provide fair treatment and oppose the discriminative policy.
Domestic work is work. The signification and value of domestic work has long been underestimated by the society. As a consequence, both housewives and domestic workers, are usually being excluded from the social security system and being underpaid from what they deserve. Coming from all over the world, thousands of domestic workers left their home to work in Hong Kong. The elderlies and the children of thousands of HK families, therefore, are being taken care of. Consequently the adults in the household can join in the labor force. However, their contribution to the economy and society, has been neglected for long. The society should recognize the value of domestic work.
We support the demands of foreign domestic workers’ union:
The release date of the charter is the International Domestic Workers’ Day. On this day in 2011, the International Labor Union passed the convention C189. The convention recognizes the value of domestic worker and demands every country to ratify C189 in order to implement the ranges of protection included.
Though Hong Kong government is not able to ratify the convention by itself, the government can still promote the protection of domestic workers’ rights according to the clause of the convention. For example, the government should abolish the measures which segregate the foreign domestic workers from other workers in order to eliminate the discrimination and promote a fairer treatment of both parties.
Attachment: Introduction of C189
Basic rights of domestic worker
- To promote and protect the human rights of all domestic workers
- Respect and uphold the basic rules and rights at work:
Uphold the freedom of association and the right of collective bargaining
- Eliminate all forms of force labor
- Abolish the use of child labor
- Eliminate the working and occupational discrimination
- Effective protection against all forms of abuses, harassment and violence
- Fair employment and reasonable living condition
On the information of employment clause
- Domestic workers have to understand their contract (better in written format) clearly
- Apart from working hour, overtime work payment, daily and weekly rest hours, annual paid leave, it is necessary to enact policy which ensures domestic worker has equal treatment just like ordinary workers
- At least having a consecutive 24-hour rest weekly
- Regulate the related on-call hour
- The minimum wage of domestic workers shall be the same as the minimum wage of other types of work
Occupational Safety and Health
- Domestic worker shall enjoy the rights of working in a safe and healthy environment
- The protection of domestic workers should not differ from the workers of other types of work
On the Standard of Live-in Domestic Worker
- To provide a reasonable living arrangement which based on the rules of the respect of domestic workers’ privacy
- Domestic worker has the right to keep their own identification and travelling document
On the Standard of Foreign Domestic Worker
- The government should protect the domestic worker from exploitation of employment agencies
Private Employment Agency
- To regulate the operation of private employment agencies
On resolving the dispute, complaint and law enforcement
- Domestic worker has the right to proceed the complaints to the arbitration body such as court through an effective mechanism