NEWS: Maids' job rules `not discriminatory'

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Subject: NEWS: Maids' job rules `not discriminatory'
From: Jyothi Kanics (
Date: Wed Jan 13 1999 - 15:54:33 EST

Maids' job rules `not discriminatory'
The Hong Kong Standard, January 13, 1999

IN its Human Rights Report to the United Nations Secretariat, the SAR
Government maintained that the ``two-week rule'' _ which requires foreign
domestic helpers whose contract had been terminated to find a new job
within 14 days _ does not discriminate against them by race as has
frequently been alleged.

``The government has always rejected any suggestion that the rule is based
on or entails racial discrimination either in the literal sense of that
term or in the broader sense,'' according to the report which devoted four
pages to the issue.

Entitled ``Slavery or servitude: forced or compulsory labour'', the article
in the report acknowledged that the rule mostly affects female domestic
helpers from the Philippines, as previously pointed out by groups such as
the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Race Committee.

The report states, the two-week rule ``applies equally, and without
discrimination, to domestic helpers from other countries and to the
`imported' workers, most of whom come from China''.

The imposition of special restrictions on the employment of foreign workers
is an intrinsic part of immigration control, according to the report.

The report added that foreign workers can seek the assistance of the Labour
Department when their rights are infringed.

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