Hong Kong Lawmaker Dialogues with Filipinos on Workers’ Rights

Hong Kong Legislative Council Kenneth Leung discusses different issues that foreign household service worker faces in Hong Kong at the Philippine Consulate General Conference Room on 24 March 2019. (Hong Kong PCG photo)

Hong Kong – In line with the celebration of 2019 National Women’s Month, the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong organized a public dialogue between Kenneth Leung, a leading advocate for migrant workers’ rights in the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) and Filipino household service workers (HSWs), entitled “Kapihan with Kenneth (Kaffeeklatsch with Kenneth): A Talk on Migrant Workers’ Rights” at the Consulate Chancery on March 24, 2019.

Mr. Leung is noted for having tabled, along with another Legco member, Dennis Kwok, the “Modern Slavery Bill”, which tackles all forms of modern slavery including human trafficking, forced marriage and sex tourism. The talk focused on rights of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs)–the local term for HSWs–in Hong Kong, who number over 390,000, more than 214,000 of whom are Filipinos.

Consul General to Hong Kong Antonio A. Morales delivers the opening remarks at the “Kapihan with Kenneth: A Talk on Migrant Workers’ Rights” at the Philippine Consulate General Conference Room on 24 March 2019. (Hong Kong PCG photo)

“This event is a historic one given this is the first time a member of the (Hong Kong) Legislative Council will conduct a talk with the Filipino community,” said Consul General to Hong Kong Antonio A. Morales during his opening remarks. “I also admire him for his sincerity in pushing for advocacies such as human rights, non-discrimination and resolution of labor issues, especially on migrant workers.”

Consul General Morales further noted that a recently released report by Enrich Hong Kong, in partnership with Frost and Sullivan, estimated the economic contribution of FDHs in Hong Kong at US$12.6 billion or 3.6 percent of Hong Kong GDP.

During his presentation, Mr. Leung discussed different issues that FDHs face in Hong Kong, including employment agencies, loan contracts, medical insurance, and remedies in case of complaints. He further stressed that he and LegCo welcome suggestions from the Filipino Community to improve the working conditions of HSWs and migrant workers in general.

Consul General Antonio A. Morales (6th from left) and Hong Kong Legislative Councilor Kenneth Leung (7th from left), and Lewis Silkin lawyer Louise Le Pla pose for a group photo with participants, and other officials of the Philippine Consulate General, at the “Kapihan with Kenneth: A Talk on Migrant Workers’ Rights” on 24 March 2019 held at the Consulate’s Conference Room. (Hong Kong PCG photo)

Lewis Silkin law office lawyer Louise Le Pla, a foreign registered lawyer in Hong Kong, then proceeded to dissect and discuss each of the clauses of a standard Hong Kong employment contract for HSWs and gave practical tips on employment protection, such as fully understanding the provisions of the contract, to labor-related issues.

 For more information, visit www.hongkongpcg.dfa.gov.ph or

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