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Jakarta Post

Your letters: Hong Kong protects domestic helpers

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Fri, March 6, 2015   /  06:50 am

It is encouraging to note your editorial headed '€œHong Kong'€™s justice'€ (Feb. 28), which stated that '€œHong Kong has taken many legal measures to ensure the safety and protection of migrant workers, being much more progressive than others hosting migrant workers ['€¦]'€

This is a fair recognition of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government'€™s serious efforts and commitment in protecting the well-being and personal safety of the 334,000 foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) currently in Hong Kong. And of these, over 160,000 are from Indonesia.

Hong Kong is indeed one of the few places in the world that provides migrant workers with a true level playing field and the same statutory labor rights as local workers. All FDHs are protected by a government-prescribed Standard Employment Contract (SEC), which clearly sets out the minimum allowable wage and other labor and medical benefits. In case of a labor dispute, they have full access to free consultation and conciliation services provided by the Labor Department. In seeking legal redress, they even have full access to legal aid.

The six-year jail term imposed recently by the Hong Kong District Court on the former employer of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, an Indonesian domestic helper, vividly demonstrates that the Hong Kong SAR government is serious in protecting all FDHs working here.

The message is clear: the Hong Kong SAR government does not tolerate any exploitation or abuse of FDHs; nor does the Hong Kong community accept such misdemeanor. FDHs who feel aggrieved are encouraged to approach the authorities promptly.

Matthew Cheung Kin-chung
Secretary for Labor and Welfare
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Governmen

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