The government has been urged to provide more assistance for foreign maids who get pregnant in Hong Kong – to help avoid tragic outcomes.
The call, by a support group for people employing domestic workers, comes after several cases of domestic workers being arrested for abandoning newborn babies over the past two years.
Joan Tsui Hiu-tung, convenor of the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers, said the group had learned about a number of cases of domestic workers who had got pregnant in recent years, Oriental Daily reported. Most of the workers enquired about work arrangements, employment contracts and baby care when they knew they were pregnant.
But Tsui did not disclose the exact number of cases the group knew about.
Tsui said some domestic workers became pregnant before they got to Hong Kong, while others became pregnant after dating boyfriends in the city.
Most domestic workers did not want family members to know they were pregnant, and they worried that their employers may not want to renew their contract. So, most told others they were just “gaining weight” and began to wear loose clothes.
And some employers did not have much time to meet their workers, so it wasn’t surprising that they were not always aware their workers had got pregnant.
Tsui said workers were under pressure and often tried different ways to hide their pregnancy. Some might use extreme methods to solve the “problem”.
If they chose to have the child, they had to worry about caring for the baby. As they were still doing domestic work, they had no choice but to send their babies to non-government groups that could take care of them.
Tsui criticized the government for its inadequate support for maids or domestic workers who get pregnant and their employers, in terms of guidelines and advice on work arrangements – maternity leave during pregnancy, as well as post-natal medical care.
“The government just leave the issue to the worker and employer, and let them deal with it, which eventually causes more disputes and tragedies,” Tsui said.