移民家務工人在 2019 冠狀病毒疫情下面臨健康、社會和勞工問題困擾
香港有超過 39 萬名移民家務工人，他們照顧超過一成的香港家庭。然而，調查結果與求助個案報告均顯示，移民家務工人在面臨疫症下防護不足，並承受因額外工作和財務負擔帶來的壓力。移民家務工人在 2019 冠狀病毒的危機下遭受各種就業相關的問題及困擾。
現時，香港已有一百多個的 2019 冠狀病毒確診病例，群眾紛紛採取保護措施避免病毒傳播。然而，令人失望的是，亞洲移居人士聯盟（AMCB）發布的「2019 冠狀病毒病期間移民家務工人狀況的網上調查」顯示，許多移民家務工人沒有受到應有的防護。
根據衛生署衛生防護中心的數據，截至 2020 年 3 月 14 日，已經有 5 名女性移民家務工人在僱主確診後發現被感染 2019 冠狀病毒，據信他們是從家居感染病毒。儘管如此，移民家務工人作為照顧香港家庭的工作者，被感染病毒的風險經常被低估和忽視。 早在第一名移民家務工人在二月初被發現在其雇主家受到感染時，許多討論就不公正地集中在對移民家務工人可能傳播病毒的擔憂上，而不是關心其的安全和保護。
作為居住在工作地點的工人，防護物資的獲取在很大程度上取決於僱主的供應。我們遇到一些工人，他們的僱主未有為他們提供口罩和消毒劑。令人擔憂的是，根據最新調查結果顯示，有 11-14％的受訪者表示他們沒有從僱主得到口罩或消毒劑。以整體人口來說，即是大約有 43, 000 -55, 000 移民家務工人目前沒有從僱主得到足夠的防護物資。
除了對病毒的防護不足外，移民家務工人亦面對在歧視和勞工權利的保護不足。自 1 月下旬爆發 2019 冠狀病毒以來，外勞事工中心收到了大量與就業和權利相關的查詢。大多數的查詢是有關休息日和無薪假期的不同安排，以及對於由 2019 冠狀病毒造成的不同情況而導致合同終止。我們收到了不同的個案，其中有工人在病毒爆發期間由於僱主失業而被解僱、有工人堅持要在休息日外出而被要求辭職、有工人發燒時被要求終止合同。他們中許多人擔心自己的生計，同時承受著努力保存自己的工作並保護自己的權利和福利的壓力。
根據調查結果，4 成的移民家務工人由於 2019 冠狀病毒在過去一個月沒有外出。調查估計，約有 4 萬移民家務工人在一整個月沒有獲準休假。另有 2 萬 1 千人在一個月內只有一天的休假。超過 17,000 人每月僅休息 2 至 3 天。
我們的案件和查詢中，有許多的僱主希望就 2019 冠狀病毒提出其他的就業安排， 但由於移民家務工人的脆弱性，他們很多因擔心失去工作而被迫達成協議。
移民家務工人在 2019 冠狀病毒疫情下的的現狀不僅現時了他們面對的忽視和排斥，而且暴露並放大了由歧視性政策引起而存在已久的問題。受到「強制同住規定」和「兩星期規定」的限制，移民家庭工人在疫情期間變得更加脆弱。
要是我們真的希望香港能擺脫 2019 冠狀病毒的危機，就絕對不能忽視移民家務工人的困境。我們需要照顧和保護香港的照顧者。若一個人不受保護則令其餘的家庭成員處於危險之中。因此，移民家務工人必須被包括在有關 2019 冠狀病毒香港政府的社會保護議程。就此，我們呼籲香港特別行政區政府：
一．將移民家務工人包括在政府議程應對 2019 冠狀病毒疫情的議程，以提供全面保護。
五．確保移民家務工人能夠獲取正確有關 2019 冠狀病毒疫情的資訊 （尤其是涉及移民家務工人的疫情資訊）。
六．確保及時為受 2019 冠狀病毒疫情影響的移民家務工人提供支持和協助。
因 2019 冠狀病毒而遭解僱: 7
查詢（電話、 Facebook 專頁）
有關勞工權利 (工資、休息日) :7
有關因 2019 冠狀病毒而遭解僱 :2
* 外勞事工中心有關 2019 冠狀病毒的個案及查詢
Press Statement 16 March 2020
Migrant Domestic Workers face health, social and labor insecurities during COVID-19 outbreak MFMW calls for inclusion of MDWs in government protection plans
There are over 390,000 Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) who take care of over 11 % of household families in Hong Kong. Yet both survey and case incident reports reveal that MDWs face insufficient protection from the virus, experience pressures from additional work and financial burdens, and suffer various employment problems during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
With over a hundred confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city, people in Hong Kong are advised to take protective measures to avoid virus spreading. However, it is disappointing that the results of “Online Survey on the Situation of Migrant Domestic Workers during COVID-19” published by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) showed that many Migrant Domestic Workers are left unprotected.
According to the Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, as of 14 March 2020, already five female MDWs were found infected after their employers confirmed diagnosis. It is believed that they were infected from inside the household. Still, the risks of MDWs being infected because of the nature of their work as caregivers in Hong Kong household families are often overlooked and undermined. Back in early February, when the first migrant domestic worker was found infected from her employer’s household, many discussions centered unfairly on worries of MDWs potentially spreading the virus instead of concerns for their protection and safety.
As workers who live where they work, the supply of protective materials depends greatly on employers’ provision. There are cases wherein MDWs are not provided surgical masks and sanitizers. This is more worrying when the latest survey conducted by AMCB showed that between 11-14% of respondents reported that they do not receive masks or sanitizers from their employers. In absolute numbers, there are around 43,000 -55,000 migrant domestic workers who are currently not receiving enough protective materials from their employers.
Apart from insufficient protection from the virus, Migrant Domestic Workers report insufficient protection from discrimination and labour rights violations. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in late January, the MFMW received a lot inquires which were employment and rights-related. Majority made inquiries on different arrangements on rest days and no-pay leave, as well as termination of contracts due to different scenarios brought by the COVID-19. We have received cases wherein workers were laid-off due to loss of jobs of their employers during the virus outbreak; workers being told to resign if they insisted in taking their days-off outside the household; workers being asked to terminate their contract when they developed a slight fever. Many of them were concerned about their livelihood and stated they were under stress struggling to keep their jobs and protecting their rights and welfare while burdened by more work in the household due to the social distancing policy.
Based on the survey results, nearly half (40%) of MDWs did not go out during the past month due to the COVID-19. The survey estimates that Around 40,000 Migrant Domestic Workers were not allowed to enjoy a rest day for a month. An additional 21,000 only got one rest day in one month. More than 17,000 got only 2 or 3 rest days a month
If ever distressed MDWs wanted to report or seek redress from labor problems, they were challenged by the closure of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department for a month, among other government agencies working under skeletal personnel arrangements.
From among our cases and inquiries, many of the employers would have liked to propose alternative employment arrangements in response to COVID-19. Due to their vulnerability, MDWs were forced to agree on these arrangements for fear of losing their jobs.
Their current situation during the COVID-19 outbreak not only highlights neglect and exclusion of MDWs but also exposes and magnifies the already existing problems of MDWs arising from some discriminatory government policies. Being restricted by the mandatory live-in requirement and 2- week rule, Migrant Domestic Workers are made more vulnerable during this crisis. There is also a lack of appropriate information to ethnic communities and civil society organizations on updates and information involving them and COVID19. A controversial advisory for MDWs to stay where they work even on their rest days remain in force. Closing down Labour Department services impacted workers in the territory including MDWs who have no other access to grievance mechanisms.
If we truly want Hong Kong to rise from the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot afford to ignore the plight of migrant domestic workers. We need to care for and protect Hong Kong’s caregivers. Leaving one person unprotected puts the rest in the household at risk. Their inclusion in the government ‘s agenda for social protection amidst the COVID-19 outbreak is therefore imperative.
In this regard, we appeal to the HKSAR government to:
1. Include the MDWs in the government agenda for comprehensive protection amidst COVID-19 outbreak.
2. Abolish discriminatory restrictions like the “Two- Week Rule” and “Mandatory Live-In requirement” to lessen the vulnerability of MDWs.
3. Include MDWs in the proposed financial assistance scheme by the HKSAR government to cope with the impacts of COVID-19
4. Provide widespread information to educate households employing MDWs on their responsibilities on adequate provision of protective materials
5. Ensure that MDWs have access and correct information on COVID-19 especially those involving MDWs
6. Ensure timely support and assistance is provided to MDWs who are affected by the COVID-19
7. Ensure adequate supply of affordable protective materials in the market for all
Being terminated due to COVID-19 : 7
Affected by the closure of Labour Relations Division, Labour Department : 9
Affected by the closure of Labout Tribunal: 9
Affected by the closure other governmental services : 5
Inquiry (Phone, Facebook) #
About protective materials : 5
On alternative employment arrangements: 2
About being terminated during annual leave : 2
On travel ban of the Philippines: 5
On employment rights (Salary, rest days) : 7
About being terminated due to COVID-19: 2
* MFMW’s cases and Inquires on COVID-19