The Hong Kong High Court. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons/Chong Fat
The Hong Kong High Court. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons/Chong Fat

The Hong Kong High Court on Monday heard closing submissions in a judicial review filed by a Filipino domestic worker against the “live-in” rule for maids, with her lawyer alleging that the rule forces domestic helpers to be on call 24 hours a day.

Paul Shieh, the lawyer representing the Filipino petitioner, argued that the live-in rule should not segregate work time and rest time for employees in a way that puts them at risk of being abused, Sing Pao reported.

There are some domestic workers who do not want to live with their employers and the law should take this into consideration, Shieh told the court.

Meanwhile, the government should provide evidence and figures on the impact of lifting the rule that it uses to justify the policy, such as impacts on labor-market, housing and insurance issues.

Shieh argued earlier that the live-in rule was unconstitutional and violated the Bill of Rights. He said the legal challenge was aimed at giving domestic workers a choice on where they can live. It did not seek to force all helpers to move out of their employers’ homes.

Lawyer Benjamin Yu, arguing for the government, said domestic workers should report to the Labor Department if their employers violate their employment contract, including failure to allow a weekly 24-hour rest day. The risk of such abuses has no direct relation to the live-in rule, he told the court.

The High Court reserved judgment in the case.

Read: Legal challenge against live-in rule for domestic workers

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