Over 90% of MDWs who come to HK are women of child-bearing age
Often social and cultural norms in their home countries don’t encourage comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and/or gender equality. This means that many are not aware of their maternity rights or lack the confidence to stand up for themselves. There is also a widely held misconception that all children born in Hong Kong will receive permanent residency or citizenship status.
A lot of MDW employers juggle numerous roles and daily responsibilities at home and work, which is likely why an MDW was hired. Finding out their MDW is pregnant can create a unique set of challenges. Initially employers often feel confused, shocked and betrayed. Their mind may race with multiple questions and concerns: She came here to work, why did she get pregnant? My husband and I work full time – can she cope with caring for my young children when she is pregnant? How will we manage when she is on maternity leave?
These are all very real concerns that without careful thought and planning can result in an MDW being unlawfully fired, pressured to leave or resign. The reality is that many MDWs and their children remain at risk of becoming unemployed and homeless, unless employers are supported to maintain the smooth functioning of their household. It is this reality that drives us in our intention to do even more to understand and support MDWs and their employers, and to prevent a crisis, so that every child born in HK has a fair start in life.