Hong Kong vows to uphold rights of OFWs amid COVID-19 surge

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — The Hong Kong government has assured that it will uphold the rights of overseas Filipinos workers amid the COVID-19 surge in the country.

“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government does not and will not tolerate any employers of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) illegally dismissing FDHs who have suffered from the COVID-19 and in violation of the Employment Ordinance (EO),” the Hong Kong government said in a statement on Saturday.

“Under the EO, an employer is prohibited from terminating the contract of employment of an employee on his/her paid sickness day, except in cases of summary dismissal due to the latter's serious misconduct,” it added.

The Hong Kong Labour Department said an employer who violates the EO will be prosecuted and will be fined up to HK$100,000. Any breach of requirements will also render employers ineligible to hire FDHs and their visa applications for the helpers will be rejected.

Hong Kong employers who mistreat or dismiss domestic helpers due to COVID-19 infection will also face cases for violation of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance.

“For those FDHs under employment who test positive to the COVID-19 or are regarded as close contacts, they will receive support like any other citizens of Hong Kong,” the Hong Kong government said.

“For those FDHs currently without employment in Hong Kong, the Labour Department has been assisting in their admission to suitable facilities with the support and assistance of the relevant Consulates General,” it added.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office has also provided cash, food packs, and hygiene kits to OFWs who caught COVID-19.

Hong Kong has the largest number of COVID-19 deaths globally with over 100 fatalities daily in the past days.