Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong who do not get enough food from their employers can have them included on a watchlist at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), according to Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre.

The office received complains almost “daily” against Hong Kong employers who did not provide enough food for their workers, hongkongnews.com reported. As of January, more than 6,000 employers were put on the watchlist.

The labor attaché urged the Hong Kong government to intensify its monitoring to determine if employers were following the provisions of the Standard Employment Contract of foreign domestic workers.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong released a survey result showing 70.6% of foreign domestic workers were working more than 13 hours a day. De Torre urged the Legislative Council to set standard working hours for people in Hong Kong.

However, during a meeting with Philippine Consulate General (PCG) officers last year, Labour Department officials noted the difficulty of setting fixed working hours for foreign domestic helpers since even local employees had no standard working hours, adding it was hard to quantify the working time of a maid in a household setting.

The Consulate counter-proposed the Labour Department specify in the contract attachment the staggered work schedule of the worker. Meanwhile, the Labour Department said it would encourage employers to be “more humane and considerate” in providing sufficient rest to their helpers. It also vowed to step up its education campaign for employers.

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