The Peak Season For Filipino Domestic Helpers To Quit Is Near
Christmas is a BIG deal in the Philippines
The Philippines is the only Asian country with a majority of Christians, about 80% of people being Catholics. Therefore, Christmas is the most important festival in the Philippines.
People in the Philippines like to celebrate Christmas for as long as possible! The playing of Christmas carols in shops can start in September! The formal Christmas celebrations start on 16th December when many people go to the first of nine pre-dawn or early morning masses. The last mass is on Christmas day. The Christmas celebrations usually continue until the First Sunday in January.
Christmas (Oct/Nov/Dec) is the peak season for resignations among Filipino FDHs
From October to December, more and more Filipino domestic helpers become homesick and want to celebrate Christmas with their families in the Philippines. Others will show signs of depression and their performance may suffer.
As employers, what shall we do? How do we determine if our helpers are homesick or not? How to prevent them from quitting the job? Here are some suggestions:
My helper wants to take her annual leave during the Christmas season
Many helpers, even those who have worked for less than 1 year, will ask their employer’s permission to have holidays back home in December. Their desire is so strong that if the employers refuses to give them holidays to meet their families, they will sometimes resign. How should you handle such requests?
If you can arrange to let your helper take the annual leave, discuss with her about the dates. Whenever a domestic helper takes one week annual leave, you need to also add one day for their weekly holiday, i.e. 7 days annual leave + 1 weekly day off = 8 days holidays. The helper is responsible to pay for her own annual leave travel arrangements. Unless she is finishing her contract or you are terminating the contract, you are not responsible to pay for her annual leave air tickets.
Some employers like to give full or half payment of the air ticket as a Christmas gift. Other employers will like to give the full or half payment of the air ticket when the helpers return to Hong Kong, to encourage them to come back after the holidays. No matter how you arrange things, please document clearly the calculation of holidays.
Your helper should apply for an overseas employment certificates (OEC) in the Philippine Consulate after she will have got an printed electronic air ticket. For detail, please go to the link below:
You should write a letter stating that your helper is returning to the Philippines for annual leave and you intend to continue employing her until the end of the contract period. Please click the link for a sample: http://icarefamily.hk/blog/2016/9/19/sample-of-letter-to-certify-your-helper-is-working-for-you-to-apply-oec This will prevent problems going through Philippines Immigration.
You may also wish to write an agreement with your helper to clearly state that failure to return from holiday will be interpreted as termination of contract. (http://icarefamily.hk/blog/2016/9/8/what-to-prepare-if-your-helper-will-have-holidays-back-to-the-philippines-)
For helpers working in Hong Kong for less than 3 months, they can enjoy the statutory holiday WITHOUT PAY. That means the employer shall let their helper enjoy the statutory holidays but deduce that day’s salary. However, being generous to your new helpers, let her enjoy the Christmas Day WITH PAY helps your helper to feel your love and care directly.
-If you observe they show any signs of homesick: e.g. easily cry, no facial expression, performance drop suddenly, you or your spouse(depends on who manage the helper) should find a time to talk to your helper, thank her for leaving home to work in your family. Tell her your observation, listen to her. Comfort her, appreciate her sacrifice for her family.
-For helpers working in Hong Kong, consider to give your helper a red pocket(with money) as Christmas as gift or bonus, so they can enjoy a better meal with friends. The amount is up to employer’s decision.
-Give your helper holiday in the day of Christmas: 25/12 ( employers can decide either to give their helper holiday on the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival or Christmas Day). If you cannot manage to give your helper holiday on 25/12/2016, please consider to give her holiday on Christmas Eve.
-Give her longer time to use mobile to chat with her family member on Christmas. If you do not feel comfortable to share the wifi password with your helper, consider to lend her your computer or laptop, so they may use skype to chat with their family on Christmas.
Christmas is near, get prepared. May you and your helper enjoy a peaceful and Merry Christmas.