Filipino domestic workers in HK urged to report unjust termination amid outbreak

Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 12:33 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2020 07:41 AM

People wear protective masks as they walk a downtown street following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Hong Kong, China Feb. 17, 2020. Tyrone Siu, Reuters

HONG KONG - Philippine labor officials on Sunday urged Filipino domestic workers to report any unjust termination due to the coronavirus outbreak and the travel ban earlier imposed on Hong Kong. 

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong (POLO-HK) said that before employers can terminate domestic workers, they must "have met the necessary requirements."

Assistant Labour Attache and officer-in-charge Antonio Villafuerte said the requirements include a one-month notice or wage in lieu of notice. 

If the employer decides to abruptly terminate the worker, wages must still be paid, Villafuerte said. 

"Kung abrupt yung pag terminate, bayaran lang yung wage in lieu of notice, bigay yung ticket, yung food allowance, yung severance pay or long service of more than 5 years," said Villafuerte.

(If the termination is abrupt, wages should be paid in lieu of notice, a ticket is given, food allowance, severance pay or long service of no less than 5 years.)

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If the worker's termination is related to the travel ban or COVID-19, Villafuerte said they will call the attention of the agencies so that they can contact the employers.

Earlier this month, the Philippines banned travel to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. 

The Philippines later said it would allow migrant workers to return to Hong Kong and Macau following appeals from migrants' rights advocates, religious groups, and Filipinos permanently residing in Hong Kong.

Villafuerte urged domestic helpers who were terminated during the travel ban to return to Hong Kong to pursue their claims at the HK Labour Department. He said the prescriptive period for money claims in the territory is 6 years.

More details of this advisory here: