Unless employers are supported with viable solutions, many MDW mothers and their children remain at risk of becoming unemployed and homeless
Given limited care options for young children and the elderly in Hong Kong, MDWs have become a critical source of support for many households. With the number of MDWs employed in HK forecast to rise from 340,000 to 600,000 by 2047 to help care for a rapidly ageing population, we fear the problems PathFinders tackles will likely escalate without systemic change.
Far from being an extravagance, hiring a MDW enables many mothers and daughters in Hong Kong to work and earn an income.
All working women in Hong Kong are entitled, without discrimination, to 14 weeks of maternity leave. By maintaining employment, a pregnant MDW is able to access public service and healthcare, vital for prenatal screening and newborn care. In addition, with job security the worker is able to benefit from maternity leave – allowing sufficient time to nurture and settle her child with family in her home country, before returning to work to provide for her child’s future.
HK currently employs 340,000 MDWs, many who are women of child bearing age and lack access to reproductive knowledge and services. With the number of MDWs employed in HK forecast to rise to 600,000 to help care for a rapidly ageing population, we fear the problems PathFinders tackles will likely escalate without the availability of practical and affordable solutions for employers to address their needs. It is this reality that drives us in our intention to do even more to support both employers and MDWs, so that every child born in HK has a fair start in life.
To this end, we engage with the general public to increase understanding, acceptance and support for children born to MDWs. Through our #WorkingMomsHK campaign we seek to increase empathy for MDWs as mothers and work with the media to highlight key opportunities for change.
We also conduct research to understand the needs of employers and to inform the development of practical solutions that address the key challenges they face if/when their MDW becomes pregnant.
While much of this work is incredibly ambitious and not without challenge, we strongly believe that with imagination, collaboration and a commitment to protecting the children we serve, equitable solutions for all stakeholders can be found.
Financial stress of ML pay & the cost of alternative temporary help
Lack of available & viable options for temporary support during ML
“Live-in” policy that requires a MDW to live in the employer’s home