Hardly a week goes by without a report of some cruel and heartless act or abuse by a local employer of an Overseas Domestic Worker.
Philippine Helper Baby Jane Allas was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer (a deadly disease which kills more than 300,000 people per year) at a public hospital in January having
first noticed symptoms in December. Baby Jane is a single mother of five children who came to Hong Kong to work to support her family. When told of her helper’s situation her employer, instead of showing sympathy, terminated her employment. This would normally mean she had to leave Hong Kong within 14 days, and more importantly, her health care insurance was cancelled, denying her life-saving treatment and
drugs. Her employer even put on her dismissal letter that the reason for the termination was ill health. Baby Jane is also alleging that the employer broke many of the laws designed to protect helpers.
She says she was not given her own room to sleep in (she had to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs), was given poor quality food, and little of it, and was never given a full 24 hours off each week – she was required to do work for them before she left in the morning an when she returned at night.
It is well-known that uncaring employers here in Hong Kong often dismiss domestic workers because of serious illness – and the government rules allow them to do it, offering little or no support to the sick worker. Most domestic helpers in these circumstances have to rely on charity here or give up and go back home with no medical support.