HK sets window-cleaning rules for foreign domestic helpers
The Hong Kong government has ordered the inclusion of safety provisions in the contracts of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) regarding cleaning the exterior of windows in high-rise buildings.
Under the new provisions, which will be implemented starting January 1 next year, employers are required to put locked grilles in windows when they ask their workers to clean the exterior of the windows not located on the ground level or adjacent to a balcony or a common corridor.
Only the helper's arms should be extended beyond the ledge, it said.
In a statement, the Labor Department said, "In view of the community's concerns about the safety of FDHs when cleaning outward-facing windows, the LD has over the past weeks consulted various stakeholders including the consuls general of FDHs' home countries in Hong Kong, FDH employer groups, FDH groups and employment agencies associations."
While the clause will only be included in the new contracts, all employers are encouraged "to follow the requirements to ensure the occupational safety of FDHs," the LD added.
In October, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office announced that it would no longer allow Filipino domestic helpers here to clean the windows of the flats of their employers in high-rise buildings.
A memo issued on October 1 by Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre to all accredited employment agencies in the city stated that all contracts of Filipino domestic workers starting October 15 should include a cause banning them from cleaning the exterior of windows.
The clause in the contract should state that "for safety purposes, cleaning the exterior of windows is not part of the domestic helper's duties."
Dela Torre said the memo was issued "pursuant to POLO's mandate to protect the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers".
On August 9, Filipino domestic worker Rinalyn Dulluog fell to her death while cleaning the windows of her employer's flat on the 49th floor of a high-rise building in LOHAS Park.
Other consulates of FDH-sending states in the city stated that they would be adopting the same safety clause for their citizens.
The implementation of the provision however was suspended following a meeting with the LD. —KBK, GMA News