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PathFinders provides access to free humanitarian and legal services, enabling Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) with children to make informed decisions. 

MDWs can check out our informative resource cards on service providers in Hong Kong. 

FAQ

Your rights and obligations as a pregnant employee

1Are Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong allowed to get pregnant?

The right to decide freely to have children is a basic human right that cannot be restricted.  The rights of all female employees in Hong Kong, including migrant domestic workers, to become pregnant and have children are protected by law. However, this right comes with duties and responsibilities not only as a mother but also as an employee, and the decision to have a child in Hong Kong are often associated with complex issues that need to be considered. 

2I think I am pregnant, what should I do?

Understandably, finding out that you are pregnant, especially if it is unplanned or unexpected, may bring a host of emotions that can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to worry about your health, finances and the future of your unborn child, you also have to think about the security of your job and how the employer might react to the news of your pregnancy. The news may be as overwhelming to the employer as it is to you but keeping it too long from the employer can be counterproductive.  

 As a pregnant employee in Hong Kong, you have legally guaranteed maternity rights. In order to protect those rights, you need to take the following important initial steps:

 1.  Obtain a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy and specifying your expected date of delivery.

2.  Notify your employer of your pregnancy and your intention to take maternity leave. 

It is recommended that you give notice to the employer soon after you have obtained a medical certificate and that you do so in writing to protect your maternity rights (click here for a sample of a written notice of pregnancy). Providing a copy of the medical certificate to the employer is regarded as giving notice of pregnancy. You can serve the written notice to the employer or provide a copy of the medical certificate in person, by registered mail or through WhatsApp message.  

3Where can I obtain a medical certificate that confirms my pregnancy?

You can obtain a medical certificate from a registered doctor, Chinese medicine practitioner, or midwife.  Public hospitals charge $180 per attendance for outpatient consultation.

4What are my rights and entitlements as a pregnant employee?

Maternity Leave 

If you have been employed with the same employer under a continuous contract (i.e. for at least 4 weeks and working not less than 18 hours per week), you are entitled to take 14* weeks maternity leave. In order to avail of this entitlement, you must first give notice to the employer of your pregnancy and of your intention to take maternity leave. It is recommended that you give a copy of the medical certificate to the employer confirming your pregnancy and expected date of delivery. In any case, you are required to do so if the employer asks.

* With effect from 11 December 2020, maternity leave will be extended from 10 to 14 weeks.​​​​​​

Maternity Leave Pay

If you have been employed for at least 40 weeks immediately before the commencement of maternity leave and you have given notice of pregnancy to your employer, you are entitled to maternity leave pay. This is calculated at 4/5 or 80% of the average daily wages you have earned during the last 12 months immediately before the start of the maternity leave, or, if you have worked for less than 12 months, the calculation is based on the actual period of employment. 

If you have been employed for at least 4 weeks but less than 40 weeks, you will still be entitled to take maternity leave but the period of leave would be unpaid. 

Example:

If a Migrant Domestic Worker began employment with an employer on 1st January 2019 and begins taking maternity leave from 1 February 2020, she is entitled to maternity leave  pay. If her monthly salary is $4,520, her total maternity leave pay would be calculated as follows:

Daily rate: $4520/365 x 12 x ⅘ = $118.88

Total maternity leave pay over the 14 week period: $118.88 x 98 days = $11,650.24

5When should I be paid maternity leave pay?

Maternity leave pay should be paid on your usual pay day. 

If you decide to take your maternity leave in your home country, you may want to discuss with your employer the best way for you to receive the payment e.g. through your Hong Kong bank account, cash remittance companies or bank transfer to an account in your home country, for which you may incur costs, or in a lump sum before you leave Hong Kong to take your leave. 

If the monthly payment is deposited to your Hong Kong bank account, remember to set your ATM card for overseas cash withdrawal for the entire period you wish to access your account while you are outside of Hong Kong. 

If you don't have a bank account in Hong Kong, you can find out how you can open one here: https://enrichhk.org/what-are-requirements-if-i-want-open-bank-account-here-hong-kong

You and your employer can also consider platforms such as WeChat Pay for convenient salary transfer.

6When can I start taking maternity leave?

You may decide with your employer when to take your maternity leave which, in any case, should begin between two to four weeks before your expected delivery date.  If you fail to agree with your employer on a date, then you can start taking your maternity leave four weeks before your expected delivery date.  

In case you give birth before you have given notice of pregnancy to the employer, or after you have given notice but before your due date, then within 7 days you must give notice to the employer of the date you gave birth and your intention to take maternity leave.  It is recommended that you give the notice in writing and provide a copy of your medical certificate to the employer. 

If the date of your confinement takes place later than the expected delivery date, the period between the expected date and the actual delivery date would be granted as additional maternity leave. You may also take an additional period of maternity leave before the start or after the expiry of your 14* week maternity leave if you become ill or suffer disability related to your pregnancy. In both circumstances, you may be required by the employer to provide a copy of the medical certificate. Also, if you are entitled to maternity leave pay (i.el if you have worked for at least 40 weeks immediately before the start of the maternity leave, the employer is only obliged to pay for the 10 week period of maternity leave). 

* With effect from 11 December 2020, maternity leave will be extended from 10 to 14 weeks.

7Am I entitled to time off for medical appointments?

Yes. If you need to attend a medical examination in relation to your pregnancy or require medical treatment after you give birth, any day on which you are absent from work for such examination or treatment will be considered a paid sickness day which means you are entitled to sickness allowance.

8Can I refuse to perform tasks that could be harmful to my pregnancy?

If your doctor is of the opinion that, for example, handling heavy items or performing certain tasks is harmful to your pregnancy, you should obtain a medical certificate stating so and present it to your employer.  The employer should then refrain from giving you such tasks and you may refuse to perform them. If the employer ignores the recommendation in the medical certificate, the employer would be in violation of the law and you may report the matter to the Labour Department. 

The employer may, however, within 14 days after receiving the medical certificate, arrange for you to be examined by another doctor to obtain a second opinion. If the second opinion is contrary to the first medical certificate you obtained from another doctor, you or the employer may refer the matter to the Labour Department for determination. 

9Can I ask my employer to pay for expenses related to my pregnancy and childbirth in Hong Kong?

No. Unless you suffer from an illness related to your pregnancy, expenses such as medical checks and the cost of hospital confinement when you deliver your baby are not the responsibility of the employer. In any case, as long as you have a valid work visa you are eligible for subsidized medical services at public hospitals in Hong Kong.

Pregnancy options and consideration

1I am not sure if I want to keep the baby, what are my options?

1. Raising the child

Raising a child is a huge responsibility and entails many considerations. Your decision should be based not only on your willingness to raise a child but also your readiness, capacity and the best interest of the child. Depending on the circumstances, for example your immigration status and that of your child, you also need to decide whether to raise the child in Hong Kong or in your home country.  

2. Adoption

If you feel you are not ready or do not have the capacity to raise a child but would still want to give birth, you may consider adoption. 

Under Hong Kong regulations, an adoption cannot be arranged in private. You need to approach the Social Welfare Department (SWD) or an  accredited organizations such as Mother’s Choice.  They will match a suitable family for your child and monitor the adoptive family for 6 months before finalizing the adoption. Unless you have given general consent, the placement will be finalised only after you have consented to a specific prospective adopter and the Director of SWD or the accredited organization arranging the adoption has decided that it will be in the best interests of the child.

Please note that you cannot withdraw your consent or take the baby back after the adoption has been finalised. Therefore, you need to carefully think the matter through before you make a decision. For adoptions in Hong Kong, only children older than 28 days and under the age of 18 may be adopted. 

You may also consider putting your child up for adoption in your home country through official means. In Indonesia, the organization, Yayasan Sayap Ibu  (www.sayapibujakarta.org), is accredited by the government to arrange adoption, while in the Philippines, adoption may be arranged through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (www.dswd.gov.ph)  or licensed adoption agencies. 

Beware of people who offer you money to place your baby for adoption. This is illegal in Hong Kong and may risk the safety of your  child who might end up in the hands of criminals, in an abusive situation or being trafficked.    

3. Termination of pregnancy (TOP)

If you feel you are not ready to become a parent and you wish to terminate your pregnancy, please note that it can only be legally done in Hong Kong within 24 weeks of the pregnancy. Abortion beyond 24 weeks of gestation can only be done if continuing the pregnancy will risk the life of the expectant mother. Self-abortion, such as taking any substance (medicine, herbal drinks, etc.) to terminate your pregnancy without a doctor’s supervision is illegal and one can be subject to fine or imprisonment if found guilty of the offence. 

TOP can be performed at the Family Planning Association (FPA), Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) and private hospitals. However, FPA can only help if you are within 10 weeks of pregnancy while QMH and most private hospitals will only perform TOP within 20 weeks of pregnancy given the health risks involved. You would need a referral letter from a GP or the FPA.  Other public hospitals will only perform TOP for medical reasons. If you are certain that you do not wish to continue the pregnancy, it is crucial to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. 

Institutions that Perform TOP Maximum Gestation Period
 

Estimated Cost (2019) - Eligible Persons

 

Estimated Cost (2019) - Non-eligible Persons

Family Planning Association  10 weeks $3,500 From $4,700
Queen Mary Hospital 20 weeks

$120 / day + $75 admission fee (in patient)

$5,100/day (in-patient)

Other Public hospitals  Only for medical reasons $120 / day + $75 admission fee (in patient) $5,100/day (in-patient)
Private hospital 20 weeks  From $22,000 From $22,000

  *Please note that there may be additional fees for TOP  and the final cost could be up to $9000. 

Living arrangement during maternity leave

1Is my employer required to provide accommodation to me during my maternity leave?

Yes. Under clause 5(b) of the Standard Employment Contract, the employer has an obligation to provide you with a suitable and furnished accommodation free of charge. The Contract does not make any distinction for when a MDW is on leave in Hong Kong.

The employer’s obligation, however, does not extend to your newborn child. While there have been cases where the employer has allowed their MDW and her child to live together in the employer’s home, this is very rare. You may need to arrange for alternative care and accommodation after your baby is born.

2Can I live out while I am on maternity leave?

According to Clause 3 of the Standard Employment Contract, it is mandatory that a Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) resides in the employer’s residence. The Contract does not make any distinction for when a MDW is on leave except when she leaves Hong Kong. Breach of Clause 3 of the Contract may amount to false representation which is an offence subject to prosecution.   

While it is possible to seek permission from the Commissioner for Labour to live outside the employer’s residence during maternity leave, it is rarely granted and only under exceptional circumstances. The following are questions that may be considered by the Labour Department if you wish to apply for permission to live out:

- Whether there are any special circumstances or changes in circumstances in the employer’s household which makes it difficult for the employer to provide suitable accommodation to you with reasonable privacy at his residence during your maternity leave;

- Whether the employer has made any attempt to overcome the above difficulty, and if so, why they are not pursued;

- Whether the employer would impose restrictions on your movement if you live in the employer’s residence during your maternity leave;

- Whether the size of the accommodation and the  sleeping arrangements complies with "Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Duties" annexed to the MDW contract;

- Whether the employer will bear related expenses of alternative accommodation (including but not limited to rent, utilities) and continue to be responsible for your medical expenses if you become ill;

- Any other relevant information.

Understandably, living in with your employer during your maternity leave may present difficulties for both you and your employer as well for your newborn child. You may need to consider whether it would be better to take your maternity leave and give birth in your home country where you may have a better support network rather than in Hong Kong. 

3I wish to return to my home country during my maternity leave, what are the things I need to consider?

You will need to check airline restrictions on pregnant passengers. Most airlines do not accept passengers who are more than 35 weeks pregnant. Remember that your maternity leave may start from two to four weeks before your expected delivery date.  This entails some planning and discussions with your employer on, for example, the possibility of taking an earlier leave, whether paid or unpaid, before your scheduled maternity leave while you can still travel by air. You may also need to obtain a medical certificate stating that you are fit to fly.

You may also wish to discuss with your employer the best way for you to receive your maternity leave pay (e.g. through cash remittance companies or bank transfer for which you may incur costs, or in a lump sum before you leave Hong Kong to take your leav e). If the monthly  payment is deposited to your Hong Kong bank account, remember to set your ATM card for overseas cash withdrawal for the entire period you wish to access your account while you are outside of Hong Kong. 

If you don't have a bank account in Hong Kong, you can find out how you can open one here: https://enrichhk.org/what-are-requirements-if-i-want-open-bank-account-here-hong-kong

4Is my employer responsible for paying for my flight if I decide to return to my home country during my maternity leave?

Your employer is generally not responsible for your travel expenses if you return to your home country on your own accord to give birth, unless you have an outstanding entitlement to free passage under your employment contract. If your employer offers to pay for your airfare so you can go home to give birth, clarify whether it is a gift or whether you will have to reimburse your employer at a later date. This may affect your decision on where to give birth. It would be good to plan ahead and set aside some money from your monthly wages for buying an air ticket and other expenses in case you decide to give birth in your home country. 

Prohibition from dismissal of a domestic worker who is pregnant or on maternity leave

1Can my employer dismiss me after I have informed my employer that I am pregnant?

Your employer is prohibited from terminating your employment from the date you were confirmed pregnant by a medical certificate to the date you are due to return to work after your maternity leave, unless your employer has a valid reason for the termination. 

The following are valid reasons for termination of employment as per the Employment Ordinance:

1. Willful disobedience of a lawful and reasonable order;

2. Serious misconduct;

3. Fraud or dishonesty; 

4. Habitual neglect of duties (allowance should be made for your physical condition in your ability to perform certain tasks); or

5. Any other ground on which the employer would be entitled to terminate the contract without notice. 

2Do I have any recourse if my employer terminates my employment contract before I could give notice of my pregnancy?

If your employer terminates your employment contract without a valid reason before you have given your notice of pregnancy, you should immediately notify the employer that you are pregnant, or present a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy.  The employer is then required to withdraw the termination, otherwise, the employer would be in breach of the law. If you have not obtained a medical certificate with the expected date of delivery, you are advised to do so as soon as practicable and present the medical certificate to your employer. 

3Can I be forced to resign from my job for being pregnant?

Some employers may try to avoid liability by putting pressure on their pregnant domestic worker to resign from the job.  If this happens to you and if you do resign, you may lose your entitlement to maternity leave pay and some of the other payments (e.g. long service pay or severance pay) that  are due to an employee upon termination by the employer.

If it is not your intention to resign, you need to state so clearly to your employer and indicate that you wish to return to work after taking your maternity leave.  Be wary of promises that you would be paid all your entitlements including maternity leave pay if you agree to sign a resignation letter. Once you have signed such letter you risk losing those entitlements unless you have sufficient evidence that you signed the letter against your will under undue influence.

If you suffer abuse or ill treatment during your pregnancy or at any time during your employment, you should seek advice from support groups and NGOs which may be able to refer you to a lawyer, on the possibility of treating yourself constructively dismissed. This means that you may be entitled to leave your employment due to the conduct of your employer or of an agent of the employer, without losing your entitlements. A family member or another household member under whose supervision you were entrusted by the employer can be regarded as an agent of the employer. 

Rights of an employee who is dismissed during pregnancy or maternity leave

1My employer dismissed me after I gave notice of pregnancy. What are my rights?

Unlawful and Unreasonable Dismissal 

If you are under a continuous contract (i.e. have worked for not less than 4 weeks, at least 18 hours per week) and you are dismissed after you have given notice of pregnancy to your employer, the dismissal is unlawful, unless the employer can prove that there was a valid reason. 

You are entitled to seek payments as provided under the Standard Employment Contract and the Employment Ordinance including for the following:

- Wages in lieu of notice (if no prior notice of termination was given)

- An additional one month’s wages  as compensation

- 14* weeks maternity leave pay (if you would have been entitled to paid maternity leave if not for the dismissal)  

- Compensation for unlawful dismissal if there was no valid reason for the dismissal

- Other statutory and contractual entitlements (any untaken annual leave, free passage to place of origin, travel allowance, long service pay / severance pay (if applicable) 

- You may also seek additional compensation for unlawful and unreasonable dismissal either through the courts or direct negotiation with your employer.  The maximum amount of compensation that the Labour Tribunal may award for unlawful and unreasonable dismissal under the Employment Ordinance is $150,000.

Sex Discrimination 

If your employment is terminated or if you receive inferior or unfair treatment because of your pregnancy, that amounts to sex discrimination, which is an offence under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance. If that happens, you may approach the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to file a complaint. You may also apply for legal aid or seek legal advice from NGOs regarding pursuing damages in the District Court.  

* With effect from 11 December 2020, maternity leave will be extended from 10 weeks to 14 weeks.

2My employer was very unhappy when I notified her of my pregnancy and she accused me of theft. What should I do?

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for pregnant Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) to be falsely accused of a criminal offence to justify a summary dismissal by the employer and in an attempt to circumvent  the law. You should not be forced into admitting, either orally or in writing, an offence you did not commit. There have been cases of MDWs being tricked into signing such an admission with false promises such as being able to keep one’s job or that all entitlements would be paid. Once you admit to a serious offence, the employer would be entitled to summarily dismiss you and would not be liable to pay many of the contractual and statutory entitlements that are normally due to an employee upon termination.  This may also result in an adverse record causing you to be barred from future employment in Hong Kong. 

Some cases though may arise due to misunderstanding. It is important, for example, to seek permission when keeping items which you believe have been discarded by the employer or by members of the employer’s household.  Similarly, it is advisable to seek permission when borrowing items of employers’ property to avoid or minimise the risk of being accused of theft. Other criminal allegations may be related to your care of the employer’s children or to handling of funds entrusted to you. Be aware of and try to avoid actions that may lead to such allegations.

3What should I do if the employer calls the police and have me arrested?

If you are arrested by the police for an alleged offence, be aware of your rights, ie.:

- You have the right to be informed of the reason why you are being arrested. 

- Before you are asked any questions about the alleged offence, you should be cautioned in your own language (through an interpreter) that you are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so. Whatever you say may be put in writing and given in evidence. Take this caution seriously. It would be advisable not to answer any questions or say anything after being cautioned except to provide your name, address and HKID number, until you have received proper legal advice. 

- You are entitled to access to legal advice or have the presence of a legal professional during the interview

- You should be allowed to make a phone call and to ask the police to inform your Consulate of your arrest and whereabouts. 

- You are entitled to medical treatment if and when needed

- You should be provided food and water when needed

- You are entitled to ask to be released on bail

4I have not received any payment from my employer after my employment was terminated, How can I pursue my claims?

Filing a Labour Tribunal Claim

If your entitlements are not paid within 7 days after your dismissal, you may approach the offices of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department nearest to the address of the employer where you worked, to file a claim. You and your employer will be invited to attend a conciliation meeting arranged by the Labour Department. The meeting is an opportunity for you to negotiate an amicable settlement with your employer and avoid lengthy court litigation. If the matter cannot be settled at the conciliation meeting, you can then decide to take the matter to the Labour Tribunal where a judge will hear and decide the case. 

Filing a Complaint of Sex Discrimination with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) 

If you believe you have been discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy, you may lodge a complaint with the EOC. Complaints can be filed online (website: www.eoc.org.hk) or in person. You will need to provide details of the termination and/or the unfavourable treatment you received to enable the EOC to assess whether your complaint can be substantiated. You may also be required to provide copies of your medical certificate and any other relevant documents to support your complaint.

A conciliation meeting may be arranged between you and the Respondent (the person you accuse of discrimination) to try and negotiate an amicable settlement. If the matter cannot be settled and the EOC is of the view that your case has merit, the EOC may assist you in bringing a claim in the District Court. Alternatively, you may apply for Legal Aid or seek pro bono legal assistance to pursue your claim.  

There are also NGOs that can provide support regarding employment and/or discriminations claims. 

Visa issues

1My employment has been terminated but I cannot fly out of Hong Kong because no airline would accept me, will I be accused of overstaying?

You will need to obtain a medical certificate from a registered doctor advising whether you are fit to fly or not. If the medical certificate states that you are not fit to fly due to your pregnancy, you may present the certificate to the Immigration Department within 14 days after the termination of your employment  to support an application for extension of stay. The Immigrtion Department may grant you permission to stay until after you have given birth or after a medical concern has been resolved and you will then have to leave Hong Kong or you can request for further visa extension if necessary. 

2Am I permitted to stay in Hong Kong after the termination of my employment to pursue claims against my employer?

Yes. The Basic Law of Hong Kong guarantees access to judicial remedies if one’s rights are violated.  If you are involved in an ongoing legal proceeding or a case being investigated by the police, you need to obtain a letter from the relevant departments (eg. Labour Relations Division, Labour Tribunal, District Court, Police Department) and produce this letter to the Immigration Department within 14 days of the termination of your employment to support an application for extension of stay.

Giving birth in Hong Kong

1How can I avail of medical services in Hong Kong?

  1. I am currently employed as a Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW)

  • MDWs who are legally employed in Hong Kong are considered “Eligible Persons” and have access to subsidised medical services at public hospitals.  

  • You will need a copy of the medical certificate confirming your pregnancy with the expected date of delivery.

  • You can register with the Maternal and Child Health Centres (MCHCs) in the district where you live and work, for prenatal and postnatal care which are free-of-charge if you present a valid HKID

  • You can also have access to obstetrics and gynecology services at public hospitals at subsidised rate if you present a valid HKID

 

  1. I am on a visitor’s visa

You will normally be charged for medical services at public hospitals under the category of “Non-Eligible Persons” (NEP7). This means that you still have access to medical care, however the costs would be significantly higher.

If you have financial difficulties in paying the medical expenses at the public sector, you may apply for medical fee waiver through the Social Welfare Department desk at the hospital but this would be subject to approval.

 

  1. I am an asylum seeker/ USM claimant

Medical services at public hospitals would normally be charged under the category of “Non-Eligible Persons”. This means that you would be charged a significantly higher fee. You may apply for medical fee waiver through the Social Welfare Department desk at the hospital but this would be subject to approval after a needs assessment and verification of your immigration status. 

 

Fees and Charges (s at 2019)

Service

Government Polyclinics, Clinics and Hospitals Private Hospitals
 

Eligible Persons

Non-Eligible Persons

Per Attendance)

 

Antenatal/

Postnatal Care

No charge *$1190 **$30,000-$60,000 (ave.)
Delivery

$180/attendance (A&E)

$120/day+ $75 admin fee (in patient)

$39,000 (with booking)

$90,000 (no booking and/or have not undergone antenatal check-up at a public hospital)

-minimum package includes 3 days/ 2 nights of hospitalisation

**$100,000-$250,000

*Visitor visa holders and USM claimants must first consult the Obstetric Department at public hospitals for their first ante-natal service registration.

**Source: AD MediLink 

2What health services are available in Hong Kong for my child?

You can register your new born child with Maternal and Child Health Centre (MCHC) for Immunization and health screening:

1. Prepare the hospital documents related to the birth of your child

2. Make an appointment with the MCHC in your district by phone or in person. 

3. If you are a USM Claimant and your child has no right of abode, call the  MCHC hotline (3796 0861). Booking starts from the 1st day of the month. As there is a quota for new cases per month, it is advisable to get an appointment as early as possible. 

4. Appointments are given according to Childhood Immunization Programme. Post natal check-up are also made depending on varying condition. You need to bring the following documents:

- Mother’s identity documents

- Child’s identity documents (if issued already)

- Immunisation record

- Hospital documents issued upon discharge after child birth

5. Apply medical fee waiver for each appointment (if applicable)  

3I am not allowed to bring my baby to my employer’s home? What can I do?

The employer is under no legal obligation to provide accommodation to your child and most employers would not do so. In such circumstances, you will have to make alternative arrangements for the accommodation and care of your child in Hong Kong or bring the child to your home country after you have obtained the child’s birth certificate and travel document.  

Child care options in Hong Kong:

1.       Child Care Centre

2.      Mutual Help Child Care Centre

For enquiry:

Child Care Centres Advisory Inspectorate Social Welfare Department Room 2312, 23/F, Southorn Centre 130 Hennessy Road Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel. No.: 2835 2016 [1] 

For children who have right of abode 

- Provides child care services for children aged 0 to under 3

- The service is only available during the day

- An hourly fee is charged for the service

3. Relatives or friends with residency in Hong Kong Mothers are advised to verify the prospective carer’s ability and commitment. 

4What documentation do I need for my baby and how do I obtain them?

Under Hong Kong laws, parents of every child born in Hong Kong must apply for the registration of the child's birth at a birth registry within a period of 42 days of the child’s birth.  Deliberate failure to do so is a criminal offence. 

Steps in registering the birth of a child and obtaining a birth certificate:


 

  • To book an appointment for registering your child’s birth, call (852) 2598 0888, or visit the government’s website www.gov.hk/birthregistration  for more information.

  • If you wish to obtain a certified copy of the birth certificate of your child, a fee of $140 is charged.

5What can I do if the father of my child refuses to acknowledge paternity?

Under the laws of Hong Kong, if you and the father of the child are not married, the father has no legal rights or responsibilities to the child.  You can make an application to the court on behalf of your child for a declaration of paternity. For the court to hear your application, the following conditions must be met:

(a) The child has been habitually resident in Hong Kong throughout the period of 1 year or more; or;

(b) Has a substantial connection with Hong Kong  (will be determined in each case based on the facts).

One way to prove paternity is through a DNA test. However, while the court can make an order for paternity test, the defendant (alleged father) cannot be forced to agree to such a test. If the defendant refuses to undergo a DNA test, the burden will then be on you as the mother to establish that he is indeed the father of your child by providing evidence of your relationship with the defendant and your lack of sexual relations with another party around the time of conception, among others. 

Organisations such as Equal Justice can provide support regarding family law related claims.

6How can I seek child maintenance support from the father of my child?

If the father has already acknowledged paternity or paternity has been established in court but the father refuses to provide financial support for the child, you may file a maintenance claim in court on behalf of your child. Organisations such as Equal Justice can provide support regarding family law related claims.

7What will be the immigration status of my child if I give birth in Hong Kong?

  • If the birth father’s name is entered in the child’s birth registration, the child’s immigration status will automatically be linked with the most favorable status of either parent.  If only you are registered in the birth entry, the child’s immigration status will automatically link to your immigration status.

  • If at the time of birth of the child the registered father has right of abode in Hong Kong, then the child will have right of abode in Hong Kong.  

  • If the registered father has no right of abode in Hong Kong at the time of the birth of the child but has entered Hong Kong with valid travel documents, the child will have no right of abode but can apply for a dependent visa so long as paternity has been established. 

  • If the father entered Hong Kong without valid travel documents or has no permission to remain in Hong Kong, the child will have no right of abode and will have to apply for permission to remain in Hong Kong. Such application will be considered by the Immigration Department based on your visa status as the mother. 

8I became pregnant after my employment was terminated and I am currently on a visitor’s visa. Can I give birth in Hong Kong?

Jika Anda belum mencapai tahap kehamilan dimana Anda tidak fit untuk bepergian dengan pesawat dan Anda tidak terlibat dalam perselisihan tenaga kerja atau kasus apa pun yang mengharuskan Anda hadir di Hong Kong, Departemen Imigrasi umumnya tidak akan memberikan izin untuk Anda tetap di Hong Kong sampai setelah melahirkan kecuali ada keadaan luar biasa. Jika seorang dokter bersertifikat berpendapat bahwa Anda tidak cocok untuk bepergian melalui udara karena kehamilan Anda, Anda akan memerlukan sertifikasi tertulis dari dokter yang kemudian dapat Anda tunjukkan kepada Departemen Imigrasi untuk mencari perpanjangan visa Anda.

1Can I seek medical assistance at a hospital in Hong Kong if I have overstayed?

If you have not surrendered to the Immigration Department you will need to do so as you risk being arrested by the authorities at any time. If you surrender, you will likely be put on recognizance pending an investigation or a decision by the authorities on whether you can remain in Hong Kong or will be removed. During this time, you can visit a hospital to seek medical assistance. You will need to apply for a medical fee waiver if you do not have the financial resources to pay for the medical fees. 

If you are a holder of a Recognizance paper as an overstayer and are under Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) you can register at a public hospital for prenatal check up in the district where you reside with the following documents:

- Recognizance paper

- Proof of address (monthly service or rental agreement)

- Medical referral letter  

Once you have been accepted by the hospital you will be issued an appointment slip which can be used to apply for a medical fee waiver.

Returning home

1I am a USM clamant, I am anxious about returning to my home country with a child born in Hong Kong out of wedlock. I need advice.

As an asylum seeker in Hong Kong, your identity document is reduced to a recognizance paper, you have no legal status and you are not permitted to work. You and your child also have limited access to free healthcare  and are reliant on charity for your daily needs. Returning to your home country means regaining your full identity. You are able to legally seek employment and can have the opportunity to build a sustainable livelihood for your family. Your will also be able to plan for your child’s education and strive to give them a better future. 

Being able to rekindle and rebuild relationships with the family you left behind in your home country could additionally benefit your child as they could play a significant role in your child’s development.

2What support is available if I decide to return to my home country while pregnant/ with a child born in Hong Kong out of wedlock?

In Hong Kong:

PathFinders provides the following services:

  • Monthly workshops on the following topics:

  1. Self-Empowerment

  2. Basic Home Planning 

  3. Skills training

  • Helping you prepare your child for the return to  your home country by providing practical advice and informative literature that can guide you in communicating the anticipated changes associated with the move to your child and help them adjust to those changes.

  • Arranging vocational skills training provided by PathFinders’ NGO partners in Hong Kong 

  • One on one consultation during which we will guide you through our Home Country Integration Program (HCIP) handbook (for Philippine and Indonesian nationals). 

  • Assistance with Consulate related matters such as your child’s birth registration, obtaining travel documents, requesting for air ticket to return home, etc.

  • Referral to in-country partners according to your child’s needs and your own. 

We have established partnerships with a number of local NGOs and government bodies in the respective home countries to provide the following assistance:

In Indonesia:

  • Transport from the airport to home province

  • Shelter and basic needs 

  • Referral to local vocational training centers

  • Family mediation 

  • Children’s rights protection assistance

  • Children’s legal documentation assistance 

In the Philippines:

Maternity Awareness

1My employer has asked me to sign a document agreeing to avoid getting pregnant and is requiring me to receive contraceptive injection. What should I do?

An employer does not have the right to stop an employee from becoming pregnant, or force an employee to take any type of contraception. Any document you sign agreeing not to become pregnant is void and cannot be legally enforced.   

2My employer/ employment agent bought a home pregnancy test kit and wants me to use it because he/ she suspects I am pregnant. This makes me uncomfortable, what should I do?

Forcing you to take a pregnancy test is an invasion of privacy and you are entitled to refuse. You have the right to control your own body and no one has the right to interfere with it.

Healthy pregnancy

1What pregnancy related health issues should I be aware of and what steps should I take to ensure a safe pregnancy?

Common Pregnancy Complications: 

1. Sore Breasts 

Pregnant women might experience sensitivity to their breasts and nipples, as well as dull aches at a specific spot, or moving outwards towards the armpits. 

Yellow liquid, known as colostrum, might leak out of your nipples - don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. However, it is important to differentiate colostrum from nipple discharge, which could be green, yellow, white or brown. If you suspect to have abnormal nipple discharge, together with pain in your breasts, visit your doctor immediately. 

2. Morning Sickness 

It is common for pregnant women to experience nausea and vomiting in their first trimester. This is due to an increase in hCG, the pregnancy hormone, in your bloodstream. There is no method to ‘prevent’ morning sickness, but it can improve with adequate rest and drinking plenty of water. Usually, symptoms of morning sickness will disappear after the first trimester. 

3. Increased Urination

During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood flow to the kidneys, thereby producing more urine. As the baby grows bigger, the enlarged uterus presses on the pregnant woman’s bladder. The increased pressure on the bladder, coupled with an increase in urine volume, leads to an increase in frequency and quantity of urination. Continue to keep yourself hydrated and drink sufficient water despite your increased need to use the toilet. 

4. Cravings 

Many pregnant mothers experience cravings - having a desire to eat particular foods that they have not wanted to eat before. Cravings usually peak in the second trimester, and decline after the birth of the baby. Giving in to your cravings occasionally is fine, but it is important to ensure your diet does not consist of high-salt or fat foods in the long run. 

5. Constipation 

An increase in progesterone, another pregnancy hormone, in your bloodstream can lead to decreased motility in the intestines. This will ultimately lead to constipation. A diet high in fibre, such as vegetables and fruits, and drinking plenty of water can improve constipation. Doing regular exercise can also improve constipation. 

6. Indigestion

The growing baby pressing against your stomach can lead to indigestion. However, sitting straight upright prevents the reflux of acid, thereby making you feel better. Eating smaller meals and less fatty and spicy food can improve indigestion too. Smoking and alcohol drinking must be completely avoided. 

Pregnancy/Health Complications that Require Medical Attention:

Increased Risk of Infections 

Pregnancy makes women more susceptible to infections due to changes in the body’s hormone levels and immunity. 

1. Urinary Tract Infections 

With the increase in blood flow to the kidneys, a larger amount of urine is produced. The increased pressure on the bladder due to the weight of the baby, also leads to decreased bladder muscle tone, and urine stays in the bladder for a longer period of time. This allows for bacteria to grow in the urine, ultimately leading to a urinary tract infection (UTI). 

Symptoms include pain while urination, blood present in urine, lower back pain and fever. It is important to get UTIs treated immediately, as it could affect your baby’s health. If you are worried that you might have an UTI, please visit your doctor immediately. 

2. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Infection

Group B Streptococcus is a type of bacteria that is present in 25% of women’s vagina. However, this infection might spread to the baby during vaginal delivery. The infected baby might then develop hearing and vision loss, mental impairment and might even be stillborn. Therefore, it is important to check whether you have a GBS infection before you deliver your baby. 

3. HIV 

HIV can be transmitted before, during, or after pregnancy through sexual contact with an infected person. However, pregnant mothers can transmit HIV to their baby during vaginal delivery. It is important for HIV-positive pregnant mothers to receive treatment immediately to prevent the spread of HIV to their unborn child. If your baby is infected with HIV, he/she will be severely immunocompromised. 

4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Syphilis, Herpes Simplex) 

Pregnant mothers who have STDs are able to transmit it to their babies. If syphilis is transmitted to your baby, your baby might have developmental problems and physical deformities. If herpes simplex is transmitted to your baby, your baby might develop meningitis or encephalitis, which is life threatening. Therefore, it is important for mothers with STDs to seek treatment immediately from a medical doctor.

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

Hypertension in pregnant women can be categorised into 3 types: 

1. Chronic Hypertension - pre-existing hypertension before pregnancy, or if it develops before the 20th week of pregnancy 

2. Gestational Hypertension - develops after the 20th week of pregnancy 

3. Preeclampsia - dangerously high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, which can be life-threatening for both mother and baby. This is more common in women having their first pregnancy. Both chronic and gestational hypertension can develop into preeclampsia if unmanaged. 

Characteristics of Preeclampsia: 

1. Abnormally high blood pressure 

2. Severe headache 

3. Right Upper Quadrant Pain - pain under the right ribs 

4. Edema (swelling) of face, arms, or feet

5. Proteinuria (Protein in urine), if your urine is foamy 

6. Low urine output 

7. Vision changes - blurring, light sensitivity or loss of vision  

8. Heartburn-like pain, that is not alleviated with antacids 

9. Shortness of breath

Consequences of Preeclampsia: 

1. Poor fetal growth, leading to a low birth weight baby

2. Premature birth and preterm labour 

3. Stillborn baby 

4. Miscarriage 

5. Placental abruption - placenta is separated from the uterus 

6. Organ damage, especially in the liver and kidneys 

7. Greater risk of heart diseases 

 

What should I do to ensure a safe pregnancy? 

1. Have regular prenatal check ups to monitor your blood pressure. If preeclampsia is suspected, urine test can be performed to check for proteinuria (presence of protein in your urine).

2. Visit the doctor if hypertension medication and medical advice are required 

3. Exercise regularly to keep hypertension under control. 

4. Do not smoke or drink alcohol.

5. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are a known risk factor for preeclampsia. If you have pain urinating or abnormal urine, please visit your doctor immediately.

Gestational Diabetes - diabetes that develops during pregnancy 

Characteristics of Diabetes: 

1. Presence of glucose (sugar) in your urine and blood 

2. Frequent urination

3. Always thirsty 

4. Frequent vaginal, bladder and skin infections 

Potential consequences of untreated Diabetes:

1. Urinary Tract Infections in mothers 

2. Macrosomia - baby is too large, requiring delivery via C-section, and might develop Diabetes Type 2 in the future. 

3. Birth defects in brain, spine and heart 

4. Premature birth and preterm labour 

5. Stillborn baby

6. Miscarriage 

7. Increases chance of mother developing hypertension, which may develop into preeclampsia 

8. Increase chance of mother acquiring a Sexually Transmitted Infection

What should I do to ensure a safe pregnancy? 

1. Have regular antenatal check ups to monitor your blood sugar levels. 

2. Visit the doctor if diabetic medication and medical advice are required. 

3. Exercise regularly to keep blood sugar under control. 

4. Ensure your BMI (Body Mass Index) is within the healthy range. 

5. Make healthy food choices. You might want to seek the advice of a nutritionist if needed. 

6. Do not smoke or drink alcohol. 

7. 6 to 12 weeks after pregnancy, blood sugar levels should still be checked, and then 1 to 3 years after. This is to prevent and delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. 

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Severe Morning Sickness)

Many pregnant women experience ‘Morning Sickness’, which is inclusive of nausea, vomiting and weight loss, but those suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum have it exaggeratingly worse. 

This is most common in the first trimester, where amount of hCG, a pregnancy hormone, in the blood are at the highest. Women having their first pregnancy are also more prone to have Hyperemesis Gravidarum. 

Characteristics of Hyperemesis Gravidarum: 

1. More than 3 vomiting episodes per day

2. Loss of at least 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight 

3. Dehydration, leading to constipation and ketones (proteins) present in urine 

4. Loss of appetite 

Consequences of Hyperemesis Gravidarum:

1. Lower birth weight of baby

2. Premature delivery and preterm labour 

3. Depression in mothers 

4. Iron-deficiency anemia 

5. Malnutrition in mothers 

What should I do to ensure a safe pregnancy? 

1. Drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration 

2. A diet of bland foods with high nutritional value. Visit the nutritionist if more advice is needed. 

3. In severe cases, you need to get an IV drip in the hospital to receive sufficient nutrients

4. Visit the doctor if antiemetic medication and medical advice are required.

有用连结

1Useful Links

Government Services

Institution/Services

Website Telephone no.
Labour Department www.labour.gov.hk 2717 1771

Immigration Department

www.immd.gov.hk 2824 6111
Equal Opportunities Commission www.eoc.org.hk 2511 8211

Maternal and Child Health Care Centre 

www.fhs.gov.hk 3796 0813
Red Ribbon Centre www.dh.gov.hk 3143 7200
Birth Registration www.gov.hk/birthregistration 2824 6111

Medical and Sexual Health Services (NGO)

Institution/Services

Website Telephone no.

The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong

- Medical counselling

- Sexual and reproductive health

- Termination of pregnancy

www.famplan.org.hk

2575 4477

(For enquiries)

2572 2222 

(For appointment)

NGOs/Service Providers (Labour Disputes, Exploitation, Human Trafficking, Adoption)

Institution/Services

Website Telephone no.

International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

- Exploitation and human trafficking cases

www.iom.int

2332 2441

Rain Lily

- Sexual violence cases

www.rainlily.org.hk 2375 5322

HELP for Domestic Workers

- Labour disputes

- Exploitation cases

- Criminal cases

- Immigration cases 

www.helpfordomesticworkers.org 2523 4020

Mission for Migrant Workers

- Labour disputes

- Exploitation cases

- Immigration cases

www.migrants.net 2522 8564

Christian Action

- Labour disputes

- Immigration 

www.christian-action.org.hk 2739 6193

Bethune House

- Shelter

bethunehouse86@gmail.com 2721 3119
AIDS Foundation www.hkaf.com 2560 8528

Enrich

- Financial empowerment education

www.enrich.org 2386 5811

Mother’s Choice

- Adoption

www.motherschoice.org  3915 5750

Po Leung Kuk

Child care services

www.poleungkuk.org.hk/en  2277 8888

Public Hospitals (with A&E Service) by District

Hong Kong Island- Eastern, Wanchai

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, H.K. 2595 7920
Rutonjee Hospital 266 Queen’s Road East,Wan Chai, H.K. 2291 2000

Hong Kong Island - Central and Western, Southern

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Queen Mary Hospital 102 Pokfulam Road, H.K. 2255 3838

Kowloon - Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, Yau Tsim Mong

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Kwong Wah Hospital 25 Waterloo Road, Kln. 2332 2311
Queen Elizabeth Hospital 30 Gascoigne Road, Jln. 3506 8888

Kowloon - Kwun Tong, Sai Kung

Hospital Address Telephone No.
United Christian Hospital 130 HipWo St, Kwun Tong , Kln. 2379 9611
Tseung Kwan O Hospital 2 Po Ning Lane, Hang Hau, Tseung Kwan O, Kln. 2208 0111

Kowloon - Sham Shui Po

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Caritas Medical Centre 111  Wing Hong St., Sham Shui Po, Kln.  3408 5678
Princess Margaret Hospital 2-10 Princess Margaret Hospital Road, Lai Chi Kok, Kln.  2990 1111

New Territories - Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Yan Chai Hospital 7-11 Yan Chai St. Tsuen Wan, N.T. 2417 8383

New Territories - Tsuen Mun, Yuen Long

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Pok Oi Hospital Au Tau, Yuen Long, N.T. 2486 8000
Tin Shui Wai Hospital 11 Tin Tan St. Tin Shui Wai, N.T. 3513 5000
Tuen Mun Hospital 23 Tsin Chung Koon Road, Tune Mun, N.T. 2468 5111

New Territories - Shatin, Tai Po, North

Hospital Address Telephone No.
Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital 11 Chuen On Road, Tai Po, N.T.  2689 2000
Prince of Wales Hospital 30-32 Ngan Shing St., Shatin, N.T. 3505 2211
North District Hospital

9 Po Kin Road, Sheung Shui, N.T.

 
2468 5111

Consulates

Country Address Telephone No.

Philippines

Labour Hotline

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)

General Enquiry 

14/F, United Centre, 95 Quensway, Admiralty H.K.

5529 1880

6323 9324

9155 4023

Indonesia

127-129 Leighton Road; 6-8 Keswick St., Causeway Bay, H.K. 2890 4421/ 36510200
India Unit D, 16/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty, H.K. 3970 9900/ 9077 1083
Sri Lanka 20/F, Harbour Commercial Bldg. 122-124 Connaught Road, Central, H.K. 2581 4111
Thailand 8/F, Fairmont House, 8 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, H.K. 25216481

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