Press Release: [MFMW Service Report 2019]

Press Release: [MFMW Service Report 2019]

Press Release: [MFMW Service Report 2019]
 

Media Contact:

Cynthia Abdon (9740 9406)
General Manager
 

Johannie Tong (6306 9599)
Community Relations Officer

 

14 May2020
 

Working and living conditions worsen even before COVID- 19
MDWs continued to suffer under COVID-19 outbreak

MFMW calls for protection and assistance

 

The Service Report 2019 released by the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW), a charitable organization in Hong Kong, revealed that working and living conditions of MDWs has worsened in 2019 even before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Labour-related problems remain the top cases handled last year. With an increase of 9% from 2018, almost 70% of the MDWs who sought the help of the MFMW reported labor issues ranging from violations of provisions of the employment contract, pre-mature termination of contract, and failing to pay wages and benefits required by the Employment Ordinance.
 

MDWs are found more vulnerable to labour rights violations in the first quarter of this year (2020) due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 


As has always been the case, the MFMW assisted in claiming back these entitlements by providing information and guidance, shelter, and supporting their conciliation process or cases filed at the Labour Department and the Judiciary.

In 2019, we are able to assist our service users to recover HK$ 2,312,850 of monetary claims and entitlements, over HK$ 300,000 more than the amount recovered in 2018.

Highlights on MDWs situation observed:

1. Long working hours and insufficient rest remain top problems
The report showed that long working hours remains a top problem. Over 96% of the service users experience long working hours and insufficient rest, with half (52%) of them percent reportedly working 11 to 16 hours a day, while 44% percent working more than 16 hours. Almost half (45%) of the MDWs are made to work on their rest day before they take their day-off. MFMW also found that 21% of service users have no regular one day off a week which they are entitled to as indicated in their Standard Employment Contract.

It was found that the MDWs not having regular days off and sufficient rest have increased due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The MFMW, together with the Asian Migrant Coordinating Body (AMCB) and the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) had conducted an ‘Online Survey on the Situation of Migrant Domestic Workers during COVID-19’ in March and interviewed 1,127 MDWs. Results showed that nearly half (40%) of MDWs had not been going out for a month (early February to early March) due to the COVID-19. In addition, 1 in every 5 were not given their regular rest day and almost half of the respondents were not given any rest day for the whole month. The survey estimates that around 40,000 Migrant Domestic Workers were not allowed to enjoy a rest day for a month.


 2. Physical and sexual abuses doubled
It is worrying that the report suggested that service users experienced physical or sexual abuses within their employment has increased drastically. 15% of service users reported being physically abused in 2019. This is 1.5 times more compared to 2018. 2% reported ‘rape and sexual harassment’, which is double the percentage from last year.

3. Increased reports on poor living condition
The MFMW also reported that over half (52%) of the service users do not have their own private room and have alternative sleeping arrangements under the current mandatory live-in policy. This shows that suitable accommodation is still a serious concern. Besides, a quarter of them (29%) complain about insufficient food provision. According to the statistic of 2018, there is an increase of complaints on unsuitable accommodation and insufficient food.

 

MFMW had revealed in 2017, with research ‘Pictures from the Inside’, the problem of unsuitable accommodation and sleeping arrangements with details of extreme accommodation arrangements that MDWs have to live with. However, it is disappointing that even with increased reports of the problem, the Hong Kong government has not addressed the issue since.

The problem of ‘Poor Living Condition’ prevents MDWs from really resting in their employer’s home. This issue is magnified especially during the outbreak of COVID-19, where MDWs are advised to stay home during their rest day. The MFMW received reports wherein MDWs are being exploited and forced to work in the household on their regular days off because they are unable to rest, as they sleep in the common areas in their employer’s flat.

4. Severe increase of illegal deductions
In 2019, 1 in 10 service users reported the issue of illegal deduction of wages violating the employment contract, which is an over 50% increase from the 4% in 2018.


5. Overcharging is the top issue related to employment agencies 

It was found out that 80% of service users who have reported issues with employment agencies have been overcharged. This means that the service users were charged over 10% when they applied in Hong Kong.
 

As we discovered a worsening undesirable reality that still exists and experienced by migrant domestic workers in 2019, such a serious condition is magnified on a different level in the outbreak of COVID-19. Panic and fear may have overwhelmed the people in the territory. This general disposition caused by COVID-19 resulted in violation of the rights of some of these workers.

 

Inquiries and complaints on violations of the employment contract from not being given rest days and forced unpaid leave arrangement, to pre-mature terminations of contract and violation of employment rights become prevalent under COVID-19. 

 

Problems arising due to travel restrictions and quarantine policy as well as termination of contracts due to different scenarios brought by the COVID-19 result to loss of jobs, keeping quite a number of migrant domestic workers ‘stranded’ in HK; and closing down Labour Department and Judiciary services affected MDWs who have no other access to grievance mechanisms.

Situation of MDWs during the COVID-19 outbreak exposes and magnifies the already existing problems on working and living conditions in 2019.

The MFMW urges the Hong Kong government to abolish discriminatory restrictions and to provide protection and assistance addressing MDWs’ situation that have long been discussed. MDWs in Hong Kong should not be left unprotected.
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About the Service Report

The report compiles and analyzes the number and nature of problems that the MFMW receives each year. It is done for the purpose of determining problem areas that may be improved to improve the situation and status of MDWs in Hong Kong.

 

For a copy of the Service Report 2019, download the document HERE.

 

About the Mission for Migrant Workers

The Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW Limited) is an outreach ministry of St John’s Cathedral. The MFMW is a leading and trusted service provider and partner of Asian migrants, and a committed advocate in building a caring and inclusive Hong Kong society.

 

Established in 1981, the MFMW believes that migrant workers as integral to but marginalized in Hong Kong, deserve care, respect and protection of their rights. The MFMW provides crisis assistance services to MDWs in distress, empowers their communities, promotes harmony in households, and works for a more multicultural and inclusive Hong Kong.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

新聞稿: [外勞事工中心《2019服務報告》]
 

傳媒查詢:
Cynthia Abdon (9740 9406)
外勞事工中心 總幹事
 

Johannie Tong (6306 9599)
Community Relations Officer
外勞事工中心 社區關係主任


2020年5月14日
 

移民家務工人工作和生活環境惡化

疫情下繼續遭受剝削

外勞事工中心呼籲提供保護和協助


 

外勞事工中心發布的《 2019年服務報告》顯示,即使在2019新型冠狀病毒肺炎爆發之前,移民家務工人的工作和生活環境在2019年有所惡化。

勞工有關的問題仍然是去年處理個案的首位,與2019年相比, 個案增長了約一成。近七成尋求外勞事工中心幫助的移民家務工人表示遇到了有關就業的問題,包括違反僱傭合約、提前終止合約以及未有收到根據《僱傭條例》應得的工資和福利。

由於2019新型冠狀病毒肺炎的爆發,移民家務工人的勞工權利在今年第一季度(2020年)更容易受到侵犯。

與往常一樣,外勞事工中心通過提供資訊、指導、住宿, 並於調解程序或在協助工人於勞工處和司法機構提案索回有關的賠償。

 

在2019年,我們成功協助服務使用者追討超過231 萬港元的有關金錢索償,比2018年的金額增加30萬港元。


移民家務工人況要點

 一. 工作時間長和休息不足然是最主要的問題

報告顯示,長工時仍然是移民家務工人最普遍面對的問題。超過9成6 的服務使用者工作時間過長且休息不足。據報吿,其中超過一半(52%)的工人每天工作11至16個小時,而超過4 成(44%)人工作超過16小時。幾乎一半(45%)的移民家務工人在休息日外出休假前需要工作。 外勞事工中心還發現,有兩成的服務使用者沒有獲得按照「標準僱傭合約」中規定每星期一天的假期 。

 

結果發現,由於2019新型冠狀病毒肺炎的爆發,移民家務工人過勞及休息不足的問題有上升趨勢。外勞事工中心與亞洲移居人士聯盟(AMCB)以及亞太移民事工中心(APMM)於3月進行了「 2019新型冠狀病毒間移民家務工人狀況」的網上調查。調採訪了1,127 名移民家務工人。結果顯示,因受疫情爆發影響,近一半(40%)的移民家務工人一整個月(2月初至3月初)沒有外出。此外,五分一人沒有得到每週的休息日,而接近一半的受訪者在一整個月中沒有獲得任何的休息日。調查估計,約有4萬名工人在一整個月中沒有獲得任何的假期 。

 

 二. 肢體和性虐待個案加一倍

令人擔憂的是, 報告發現,服務使用者在其工作中遭受身體或性虐待的情況急劇增加。 1成5 的求助人報稱在2019年受到肢體虐待。這是2018年的1.5倍。2%人報告稱遭到「強姦或性騷擾」,是前一年的兩倍。
 

三.生活環境惡劣的求助增加

報告還指,在強制留宿規定下,超過一半(52%)的服務使用者沒有自己的私人房間。這顯示缺乏合適的住宿環境仍然是一個移民家務工人面對的嚴重問題。此外,其中接近3 成(29%)抱怨食物供應不足的情況。根據2018年的統計,就不適當住宿和食物不足的投訴均有所增加。

 

2017年,外勞事工中心透過發布研究「Pictures From The Inside」,揭露移民家務工人面對不合適住宿環境和睡眠安排的問題,以及展示了一些極端住宿安排的細節。然而,令人失望的是,即使有再多關於工人住宿問題的報導,但香港政府至今仍未著手處理。

 

「生活環境惡劣」的問題令移民家務工人在僱主家中未能得到真正的休息。特別是2019新型冠狀病毒肺炎爆發期間,因移民家務工人被建議休息日留在僱主家中。令這個問題尤其嚴重。外勞事工中心收到工人的報告稱,由於他們睡覺或休息的地方安排在家中的公共空間,因此他們在休息日無法在家中休息,甚至被剝削並被迫在休假時在家中工作 。

 

四. 非法剋扣工資的情況日催嚴重

2019年,1成服務使用者於求助時報稱遭到違反《僱傭條例》的非法剋扣工資的情況,比2018年的4%增加了超過50%。
 

五.「過度收費」是有關職業介紹所的主要投訴

據發現,在報告面對有關職業介紹所的問題的服務使用者中,有8成被過度收費。這意味著移民家務工人在香港申請工作時支付超過工資10%的費用。

 

 

我們發現,移民家務工人在2019年仍然經歷的日益惡化的現實情況,在2019新型冠狀病毒肺炎爆發下,這種嚴重的問題在不同程度上被放大。恐慌和恐懼可能使市民大眾不知所措。因2019新型冠狀病毒帶來社會上整體的傾向,令不少工人的權利受到侵犯。

 

在2019新型冠狀病毒疫情下,外勞事工中心收到不少對違反《標準僱傭合約》的詢問和投訴。不給予休息日、強迫無薪休假的安排、提前終止合約和侵犯勞工權利的情況非常普遍。

 

旅遊限制、檢疫政策以及因疫情帶來的不同情況而導致的合約終止引起的問題,導致不少移民家務工人失去工作,這使不少人「滯留」在香港。同時,勞工處和司法部門因疫情關閉,令沒有其他申訴機制的工人收到影響。
 

2019新型冠狀病毒的爆發暴露並放大了移民家務工人於2019年中已經存在有關工作及生活環境的問題。

 

外勞事工中心在此敦促香港政府,盡快廢除針對移民家務工人的歧視性限制,並針對長期以來討論過移民家務工人面對的問題及情況提供保護和援助。香港的移民家務工人不應排除在保障以外。
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關於《2019服務報告》

該報告彙編並分析了外勞事工中心每年收到的個案的數量和性質。從發布每年的服務報告,我們希望辨認出需要改善的問題範疇,以幫助改善香港移民家務工人的狀況。

 

如慾獲取《 2019年服務報告》,請在此處下載文檔

 

關於外勞事工中心

外勞事工中心(MFMW Limited)是聖公會聖約翰座堂的外展服務。外勞事工中心是亞洲移民可信賴的服務提供者和合作夥伴,同時堅定倡導建立關愛和包容性香港社會。

 

外勞事工中心於1981年成立,認為移民工人是香港不可或缺的一部分,但在香港卻被邊緣化。我們相信,移民工人應受到照顧、尊重和權利應受到保護。 外勞事工中心為困境中的移民家務工人提供危機援助服務、為移民社群充權、促進家庭和諧,並致力為更多元文化和包容性的香港努力。

Date

25 May 2020

Tags

Press Statements, Annual Reports