Labor groups have launched a petition to urge the Hong Kong government to regulate working hours and improve accommodations for domestic workers. Photo: Facebook@Asian Migrants Coordinating Body

A labor organization has launched a petition requesting that the Hong Kong government set standard working hours and improve accommodations for foreign domestic workers.

Organizations under the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body have already collected 38,000 signatures from domestic workers, Oriental Daily reported.

According to a spokesman, they want the government to ensure that employment contracts guarantee domestic workers 11 hours of uninterrupted rest between two consecutive work days, aside from mealtimes.

They also want the government to state what exactly is unsuitable accommodation, such as bathrooms, kitchens, closets and corridors.

The spokesman said the government must start treating maids as workers, not slaves, as they take care of the Hong Kong households. “Ensuring [maids] have proper rest means safer homes.”

The groups also said that to prevent contract violations, a complaint mechanism for domestic workers should be introduced along with stiff penalties for violators.

An Indonesian worker who signed the petition said she was made to sleep in a corridor for four years.

Sri Wapui, who has been working in Hong Kong for five years, said that during the time she worked for her former employer, she had to sleep in a corridor near the kitchen and bedroom where piles of dirty clothes were stored.

She developed skin diseases and various illnesses but she was afraid to complain to her employer, as she did not want to lose her job.

Another domestic worker from Nepal said her accommodation was a 4.6-square-meter storeroom with a washing machine, fans and other household things inside.

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