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Friday, October 14, 2016, 21:15

Philippine authority delays window-cleaning ban


HONG KONG - The Philippine consulate in Hong Kong decided to delay a ban so Filipino domestic helpers do not have to do exterior window cleaning after the Hong Kong government requested time to study the issue further.

The two parties agreed to put off the implementation for a month, said Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung on Friday.

During this time domestic helpers will still have to do window cleaning work when necessary safety measures are taken. The Labor Department and the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong will hold a meeting next Monday on the matter.

The Philippines had announced a new clause that would be written in all Filipina domestic helpers’ contracts banning all exterior window cleaning work. The ban was to take effect from Saturday, Oct 15.

It was put forward after several Filipina maids fell off buildings while cleaning windows.

Cheung welcomed the delay and hoped the two parties can strike a balance between the interests of employees and those of employers.

He also confirmed the Indonesian authority will not add such a requirement to domestic helpers' contracts.

A group of local employers urged the Hong Kong government not to accept the Philippine government's request as they had not been consulted.

Glen Chan from the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers with Foreign Domestic Helpers said workers’ safety was the first priority of employers.

"But the authority should have a notice to inform all parties – the employers, agencies and the employees – and ask their advice before announcing a new regulation.

"We can provide enough material and provide some rules for them on how to clean the windows. The new rules are not appropriate for many families in Hong Kong", Chan added.

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