[Press Release] 3 Out of 10 Domestic Workers in Urgent Financial And Emotional Support in The Fifth Wave, Employers Rise up to Support

Enrich News
COVID-19 response

Support From Employers

The key finding of this survey is that most employers have shown support and understanding to their helpers during the Covid-19 fifth wave. 10% out of 546 respondents tested positive to Covid-19,  the majority said that they had their employers’ support during their isolation period. Most of them still received their salaries and were provided care.

90% of the total number of respondents received care supplies, such as RAT kits, masks, vitamins and hand sanitisers from their employers. 30% of them were advised to stay home by their employers, following the official advice notice.

Mahee Leclerc, General Manager at HelperChoice comments:

'We are happy to see that over such a high number of respondents, a large majority declared having supportive employers in the light of Covid-19.'

Overall,17% of respondents had their contract terminated due to Covid-19, majority due to the relocation of their employer (44.3%), some are because of bad relationships with the employer (31.7%), others are caused by their employers’ financial struggle (19.8%) and a minority are due to catching Covid-19 (4.2%).


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Mental well being of migrant domestic workers

Aside from employment, the mental health of migrant domestic workers was also at stake. With a majority of workers not being able to go back home during the past 2 years, this survey shows the resilience of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. Interestingly, despite the ongoing restrictions during the fifth wave, over 80% of the respondents would still like to stay in the city and keep their jobs. More than 70% did not think that their mental health affected their work performance and over 90% shared that they had someone to talk to on a daily basis. When asked where they were finding emotional support, they reported: friends and family back home (343), friends and family in Hong Kong (271), and employers (66). This indicates that clearly, there is a highly resilient community of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.



When respondents were led to some deeper questions, like “Do you feel isolated because of the pandemic?”, “When was the last time you were really happy” and “How often do you feel positive about your life?”, the answers were inconsistent with their apparent well-being. 43.7% of the respondents felt isolated due to the pandemic, about a half of them dated their last happy moment to at least a month back, 39.6% did not feel positive about their life and only 22.2% realised that they need emotional support during Covid-19. This data implies that migrant domestic workers, despite being highly resilient, still bear unspoken emotional issues that call for continuous access to mental health support effectively addressing their specific needs, language and context.

Insufficient Number of Sleeping Hours

What might be more shocking was that 54.1% of domestic helpers in the survey only slept for 4-6 hours per day. As recommended by CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), adults aged from 18-60 years old need at least 7 hours of sleep for good health and well being. Number of sleeping hours may or may not directly affect these domestic workers’ mental health, but would probably weaken their physical strength and immunity.

Financial Stress

Overall, financial aid was presented as a top urgent need during the pandemic by 27% of the surveyed domestic workers. 40% expressed that they felt stressed due to their financial situation. The results further showed that 27.6% of respondents had to send more money to their family and almost 20% of them had an increase in expenses. While the exchange rate from HKD to PHP has increased rapidly in the last six months, the inflation rate in the Philippines similarly increased from January to June of this year, prompting a significant need to send more money to families back home. 31.3% reported that they did not share their financial situation with their family and 14% reported that their financial situation was not affected by the pandemic. and.. As per the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for May 2022 released by The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) on June 21,the year-on-year rises in prices in May 2022 for basic food was 4.9%, meals out and takeaway food was 3.5% and transport was 1.5%. Currently, the minimum wage of domestic workers is HK$ 4,630.

Tynna Mendoza, Director of Programmes at Enrich HK expressed that the migrant domestic worker community may continue to face increasing financial challenges as Covid-19 lingers.

‘Remitting more money and incurring greater expenses have been the top financial challenges of the community since the start of the pandemic and remain to be so especially with the fifth wave.’ Mendoza urges the employers to continue supporting their helpers especially during these times. ‘We’re pleased to know of the care and support of the many employers to their helpers. I encourage the employers to continue supporting their domestic workers, particularly with access to financial education and mental health support to enable a mutually beneficial employment relationship.’


HelperChoice is the first social impact startup dedicated to eradicating placement fees and human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour. The impact has been recognised by many organisations, including the International Labour Organisation. HelperChoice contributes to fair employment, and is a grantee of the DBS Bank foundation for social enterprises. HelperChoice has facilitated more than 50,000 recruitments and estimates that more than 60 million euros of illegal placement fees were saved. Learn more: https://www.helperchoice.com/


Enrich is the leading Hong Kong charity promoting the economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers. We empower migrant domestic workers to invest in themselves through financial and empowerment education. Our workshops equip domestic workers with the tools to save, budget and plan for a future with greater financial security while they are here in Hong Kong. For more information: www.enrichhk.org

For more information please contact:

Mahee Leclerc, General Manager at HelperChoice | Tel: +852 9132 3115 | E-mail: [email protected]

Tynna Mendoza, Director of Programmes at Enrich HK | Tel: +852 2386 5811 | E-mail: [email protected]


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. How Much Sleep Do I Need?. [online] Available at <https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html> [Accessed 29 July 2022].

  2. Census and Statistics Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Administrative Region, 2022. Consumer Price Indices for May 2022. [online] Available at <https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202206/21/P2022062100246.htm#:~:text=Netting%20out%20the%20effects%20of,in%20April%202022%20(1.6%25) >[Accessed 29 July 2022].

  3. Philippine Statistics Authority, Republic of the Philippines, 2022. Summary Inflation Report Consumer Price Index for the Bottom 30% Income Households (2012=100): June 2022. [online] Available at <https://psa.gov.ph/content/summary-inflation-report-consumer-price-index-bottom-30-income-households-2012100-june-2022> [Accessed 12 Aug 2022].

  4. Exchange Rates UK, 2022, Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) to Philippine Peso (PHP) exchange rate history. [online] Available at <https://www.exchangerates.org.uk/HKD-PHP-exchange-rate-history.html>[Accessed 12 Aug 2022].

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