Should a maid’s ‘rest day’ end with a pile of dirty dishes?
Hong Kong law clearly defines a rest day as a continuous period of not less than 24 hours, but some bosses have their own interpretations
Messy kitchens are probably the last things that foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong want to see on Sunday evenings at the end of their weekly day off.
Several months ago, a Facebook page named “OFWs in HongKong” posted several pictures of a messy kitchen and complained that many domestic workers could not enjoy a full day of rest on Sundays. This raised the question of whether employers have the right to ask their maids to help clean up their kitchens on Sunday evenings.
According to Hong Kong’s labor law, a rest day is defined as a continuous period of not less than 24 hours during which an employee is entitled to abstain from working for his employer. However, some employers try to impose their own interpretations on this rule.
An old post on Baby-kingdom.com, a popular website for married couples in Hong Kong, initiated a discussion with the question, “What if your new domestic worker says she is entitled to have one 24-hour rest day per week?”
A lot of employers agreed that they did not have the right to ask their maids to clean up messy kitchens on Sunday evenings, but many of them admitted that they expected that their domestic workers to do so “voluntarily.”
Some said that if domestic workers didn’t do so on Sunday evening, they would have to get up earlier on Monday morning to wash the dishes. Some others said the 24-hour rest day could start from 9pm on Saturday and end on 9pm on Sunday.
Some employers also said they felt unhappy when a new domestic worker tried to “threaten” them by mentioning the labor law. Others said they could ask their maids to rest on a weekday, instead of Sunday.
Some netizens, however, spoke up for the domestic workers by stating a simple fact: No one wants to work on holidays.