Food is one of man’s basic needs in order to live aside from clothing and shelter. In order for a man to live healthy, he should be given sufficient amount of food to make his body strong and disease free. And when an employee is healthy, he/she will be able to work efficiently. Sad as it is, this is one concern which is often overlooked and wasn’t given due importance on the employment contract of an FDW (Foreign Domestic Worker).
The right to to be given enough food by the employer was not taken seriously as the effect is not immediately visible unlike physical abuse or non-payment of salaries.
Based on the Mission’s Service Report in 2106, 26% among the clients that were assisted were complaining about food figuring 326 of the new clients. This number is somehow alarming.
If the employer is not providing food, food allowance worth $ 1,032 per month should be given. On the other hand, if food is provided, giving 2 pcs. of bread a day can be considered as compliance on the clause on free food. It would be better if employers will just be providing the allowance so FDW can buy nutritious foods for themselves.
In fact, it is the right of FDWs to be given free food or food allowance by employers. If an employer fails to comply with the rule as stated on the employment contract, the employer will be required to pay a penalty. This matter should be looked into by the Department of Labor as there isn’t any method used in order to check compliance by employers.
While the Department of Labor hasn’t issued yet defined guidelines to monitor strict compliance of the rule by the employers, here are some points that can be used as a reference in determining whether an employer is complying or not.
For new arrivals, keep a record of your medical certificate as proof of your health condition for future purposes upon arrival in Hong Kong.
For existing workers, keep a record of your current medical certificate including past medical records showing your health condition.
Inform your employer if you are not feeling well and if you need to see a doctor. Be honest in telling your doctor your actual working conditions, the nature of your job and the food that you were given to eat. This will help the doctor give proper diagnosis of your illness. Keep your medical records intact. If you were adviced to take a leave of absence, inform your employer and keep a copy of the doctor’s recommendation for your leave
Discuss with your employer the kinds of food that you were required to eat in order to be strong and healthy. Balanced food is needed. Inform your employer that you cannot just eat noodles all tihe time. Keep a diary of your conversations.
Keep a record of the foods that you were given to eat. If possible, take a picture of them bearing dates, time and food description.
If you were prohibited to cook on your own by your employer or was not allowed to use food items inside their refrigerator (meat, eggs and vegetables), take a picture of that.
When purchasing your own food, keep your receipt and record it in your diary.
Tell a close friend if you were deprived of being given enough food.
If there were health-related complaints regarding your condition on food provision within 2 or more months of recording, inform the Labor Department, Immigration Department and Consulate about your condition.
Documenting the kinds of food that you eat can support your claims against negligence of your employer should there be a deterioration on your health condition. Always keep a record of it including the conversation with your employer on what you are being fed.
Lack of food is the most complain of some Domestic Workers. They even buy their own food just to fill their hunger. One Domestic helper in HK complained that her employer don’t allow her to eat meat and fish, just rice and vegetables. How can you survive with this if you have non stop work from 5:00 to 12:00 midnight?
Remember, “Health is Wealth”. Take care of your health as our families depend on us for their better future.
Source : SunwebHK