Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: iStock
Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: iStock

An employer was slammed by people online for buying a return ticket for her domestic worker which involved a 12-hour wait for a connecting flight.

The domestic worker had been employed by the woman for nine months and had recently resigned, Sky Post reported, citing a post on a discussion forum on employer-worker issues.

According to the Standard Employment Contract, upon termination or when a contract expires, an employer should provide free passage, usually an air ticket covering airport tax to return to their home country.

The employer said she picked the date according to the domestic worker’s preference and bought a budget airline ticket which involved a stopover in Malaysia for 12 hours.

However, the employer did not tell the domestic worker about the long delay and she planned to give it to her on her last working day. The employer sought advice to see whether the domestic worker could refuse to accept the ticket or not.

The post drew a lot of criticism, slamming the employer for being mean to the domestic worker. Chan Tung-fung, the chairman of the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies, said under the employment contract, it was an employer’s responsibility to buy a return ticket for the domestic worker, but not a direct flight.

Chan said domestic workers cannot say no if the employer buys a transfer ticket, no matter how long the waiting time. Chan admitted that about one to two cases in every 10 terminated contracts involved disputes on baggage fee in recent years. Employers bought budget airlines ticket without paying the baggage fee.

Joan Tsui Hiu-tung, convenor of the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers, said many domestic workers needed to take a bus for 10 hours to arrive at their hometown from the airport.

The employment contract requires the employer to pay a daily food and traveling allowance of HK$100 (US$ 12.75) per day.

Tsui advised the employer and the domestic worker to discuss the matter before purchasing any air ticket and sign an official document stating the details of the ticket.

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