Whether domestic worker should engage in high-risk activities on their rest days became a heated topic over social media among Hong Kong employers and netizens on Monday.
A video clip was posted showing a woman in a hijab and life jacket jumping off a ten-meter-tall cliff at Rock Pools near Sheung Luk Stream in Sai Kung East Country Park in the city’s New Territories. Half of the hundred or so swimmers are Indonesian or Filipino maids.
Two Indonesian domestic workers, named Fitria and Nita, both on their days off, told an Oriental Daily reporter that many of their friends had visited the pond and taken part in cliff diving before, even though there was a sign warning people not to go into the water. The women were not aware of accidents involving maids at other locations in the past.
In 2014, a 32-year-old Indonesian maid was swept off the rocks by a 1.5 meter wave and dragged out into deeper water while posing for photographs with friends in Shek O.
Some local employers complained online that their maids refuse to take their advice to stay at home during typhoons. The said they felt helpless in such situations and worry about their maids’ safety, as well as their own responsibilities in the event of accidents happening.
According to the Standard Employment Contract for maids in Hong Kong, employers need to provide medical treatment for their workers if they are ill or injured, regardless of the cause.
Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, chairperson of the Hong Kong Employers of Domestic Helpers Association, advised that employers should buy a comprehensive insurance policy for their domestic workers.
Chan Kam-hua, a member of the Support Group for Hong Kong employers with Foreign Domestic Helpers said employers have no right to limit their maids’ activities on their holidays; nor can they terminate a contract if a maid is injured participating in a high-risk activity.
Some netizens insisted domestic workers should be free to do what they like on their holidays.