Maid’s frequent sick leave requests prompt discussion
One boss said that when he told his maid that her sick days would be deducted from her salary or leave, she recovered
A post on social media generated heated discussion among Hong Kong employers after a domestic worker kept claiming sick leave while refusing to see a doctor.
The maid’s employer said she had requested two to three days’ sick leaves every month claiming various kinds of ailments, including a headache and a stomach ache, Sky Post reported.
Most of the time the maid called in sick after her Sunday rest day and said she needed to take at least two more days off.
When the employer wanted to take her to see a doctor, she refused, claiming that all she needed was rest in order to recover.
The employer said she was worried about the maid’s sickness, and was puzzled why her employee did not want to go see a doctor.
Another employer said he had faced the same situation but when he told his domestic worker that her sick days would be deducted from her salary or leave, his maid’s health recovered.
According to the Hong Kong Employment Ordinance, an employee is entitled to sickness allowance if the sick leave taken is not less than four consecutive days or is supported by an appropriate medical certificate.
The daily rate of sickness allowance is a sum equivalent to 80% of the average daily wages earned by an employee in the 12-month period preceding the sickness day or the first sickness day.
Joan Tsui Hiu-tung, convener of the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers, advised people to explain the relevant rules on sick leave to their domestic workers on the first day of employment and to show them the information for their reference.
Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers’ Association, advised that to protect both the employee and family members, it is the employer’s responsibility to take the worker to a doctor if he or she is not feeling well.
Yung said employers should also show concern when their workers report illness.