An employer surnamed Wong faced a storm of criticism online from people in Hong Kong after saying she turned off the air-conditioner in her domestic worker’s room at night because the maid did not ask for permission to use the machine.
Wong said in post on a Facebook group called “Hong Kong Employers of Foreign Domestic Workers Mutual Help Association” she found her maid had put on the air-con without her consent at 1am on Wednesday. Wong said she switched it off and opened the door for ventilation.
At 4am, the woman then found that her maid had closed the door and turned the machine on again.
Wong said she was furious, adding that the maid had not turned the air-con on earlier when the weather was hot prior to a typhoon. She said her maid used to ask her before using the air-cooler.
Wong told the online group she had originally planned to let her maid use the air-con at night after a three-month probation period but had now decided to remove the socket and put a lock on it.
Wong described her domestic worker as “audacious” – and asked other employers if they let their maids “enjoy” air-con in their rooms.
Wong then faced heavy criticism from other employers, who said she was harsh, cruel and penny-pinching.
Netizens, who saw a screen-cap picture of Wong’s post on other Facebook groups, said employers should not treat their domestic workers like slaves. They said Wong was mean, because she could afford to hire a domestic worker but would not to pay an electricity bill.
Her post was then blocked by the administrator of the employers’ Facebook page. Wong then posted another message to reopen the discussion; she wanted to know how many employers allowed their domestic workers to use air-con every day in summer.
She said she had treated her maid well by offering her a room with five windows, a double bed and a fan.
Netizens suggested she should sleep in that room if it was so good. Others said Wong was making trouble for herself as her maid would be unable to do her job well without a good night’s sleep.
Betty Yung, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, said employers should be more considerate to the needs of domestic workers, instead of being harsh toward them.