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Ask Andreas: I’m planning to fire my helper, what is the legal process for doing that?

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExpertsFamily LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Domestic HelpersDomestic Helpers

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!

This week Andreas, our expert extraordinaire when it comes to all things helper related, gives one mama general tips on how to fire her helper.

I’m planning to fire my helper, what is the process legally, what am I obligated to do for her in terms of flight, etc and what are your general tips?

The law states:

You may summarily dismiss your helper without notice or payment in lieu of notice if your helper, in relation to the employment:

– willfully disobeys a lawful and reasonable order;

– misconducts himself/herself;

– is guilty of fraud or dishonesty; or 

– is habitually neglectful of his/her duties.*

So if she has done any of that, you can let her go without payment. However, these things may be hard to prove, and the helper may contest your decision in the courts. The easy way is to terminate “without cause”. You need to give her one month’s notice (or let her go on the day and pay her a month’s wages). You also need to pay any outstanding wages, including vacation time and long service payment or severance payment (if applicable). Finally, you owe one trip back to her home, door-to-door including any trains, ferries, flights, taxis, buses, plus a food allowance if the trip is longer than a few hours. More details on long service and severance payments is in section 8 of the Government’s Practical Guide For Employment of Foreign Domestic Helpers here, which details a whole range of important issues that foreign domestic helpers and their employers should know.

Once you have fired your helper, you need to write a letter to the Immigration Department informing them of the termination. Include your HKID number, the helper’s HKID number, the contract number and the date of termination.

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.



Andreas Rosboch was born and raised in Sweden by an Italian father and a Swedish mother. He has been an expat for more than ten years and plans to keep it that way. He has spent most of his career in the information technology field, handling everything from brand management to customer support. He is the author of one of our most-recommended books Hiring & Managing Domestic Help – an absolute must-have for Hong Kong mamas (psst- and you can buy it here). He lives in Hong Kong with his wife, two children and dog.

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