The Labor Tribunal in Hong Kong. Photo: Google Maps
The Labor Tribunal in Hong Kong. Photo: Google Maps

A domestic worker and her former employer settled their unpaid-wages dispute at the Hong Kong Labor Tribunal on Wednesday, thereby avoiding both being investigated by the Immigration Department for breaching conditions of stay.

Filipino domestic worker Maribel Garcia had claimed that her former employer, Hui Yiu-tak, owed her HK$20,000 (US$2,560) for unpaid rest days and statutory holidays, reported.

She also sought to claim HK$10,910.79 in severance pay and the same amount as terminal pay, but that request was turned down by the tribunal’s presiding officer, Isabella Chu.

The employer told the tribunal that he was only willing to settle for HK$5,000.

During the negotiations, Garcia claimed that she was not allowed by Hui to take a day off for more than three years because he had asked her to sell cooked food to Filipinos in Hung Hom, for which she would be paid a commission. Garcia said this amounted to 3% of the income from the sales.

When the relationship between the employer and the domestic worker turned bad, Garcia resigned and left Hui’s home on October 11, later filing a claim for unpaid wages.

Chu warned Garcia and Hui that they were both in breach of the conditions of stay imposed by the Immigration Department on foreign domestic workers.

Under Hong Kong law, a domestic worker may only perform domestic duties for the employer as listed in the Standard Employment Contract. An employer shall not require his or her domestic worker to take up any other employment.

Chu told both parties that if they did not settle the wage dispute, she would send the case to trial and Immigration would be asked to investigate.

After a break, Garcia agreed to reduce her claim to HK$10,000, which Hui agreed to pay.