We have the best Agony Uncle at Sassy Mama – Andreas is the author of one of our most-recommended books: Hiring & Managing Domestic Help. It’s an absolute must-have for Hong Kong mamas and you can buy it here! Today we’ve got a fun question about how to celebrate your helper’s birthday – what’s appropriate?
It’s my helper’s 40th bday coming up – what’s the protocol for birthday gifts? I’m new to HK and the helper thing.
There is no obligation to give a birthday (or Christmas) gift, but it a nice thing to do.
You can always give cash. It is a bit impersonal but always appreciated. Many will give cash on Western or Chinese New Year anyway so Christmas and birthday are normally seen as occasions for actual gift giving.
A gift should be something your helper would never buy for herself, such as a nice handbag or a pair of shoes.
A final option is an “experience” type gift. For example you can invite (and pay for) some family member of your helper’s to spend a week or two in Hong Kong. We did this for our helper, and she got to spend a couple weeks with her son. A surprise trip home to see her family can also work, but be wary since many helpers don’t want to home too often as they get to pay for everything when they are there.
For the only guide you’ll ever need on working with a helper, check out Andreas’ fab book ‘Hiring and Managing Domestic Help’ and buy it here.
Do you have a question for Andreas? Email email@example.com with the subject line “Ask Andreas” and we’ll make sure it gets answered on the site!