FAQ for Employers

Home and Care Service

Healthcare Massage Service

Please Click here for the Healthcare Massage Service - Notes for Clients.

Address Proof

1. Why does Smart Living require employers to submit an address proof the first time they register a vacancy?

The purpose of “Smart Living” in collecting the address proof is to confirm the identity of the employer for protection of the helper. After the first successful referral, the employer will no longer have to submit the address proof when registering another vacancy.

2. How should the address proof be submitted?

Employers can submit the address proof in one single image or file to the Smart Living - Regional Service Centres (RSCs) by “ERB Home Services” App, email, fax or WhatsApp.

3. What are the requirements of the address proof?

The following information should be clearly shown in the single image or file of the address proof:

  • Company name or logo of the sender (e.g. Water Supplies Department / electricity company / Towngas / bank / telecom company, etc.); and
  • Issuing date (must be within the recent 3 months); and
  • Name and address of the recipient (must be identical with the name of the employer or contact person and the working address or correspondence address)

4. How do the RSCs handle the address proof?

After completing the verification process, the RSCs will keep the proof documents or files properly and destroy them regularly.

5. If I am living in a residential home, and do not have an address proof, can I register a vacancy?

If employers or massage clients are living in elderly homes, hospitals or residential homes, they can produce the certificate of admission as a substitute for the address proof.

Selection and Interview

6. Where do employers conduct interviews with Smart Helpers normally?

Interviews can be conducted at the employers’ homes so as to give the helpers an idea of the actual working environment. If an employer wishes to conduct the interview elsewhere, the Smart Living - Regional Service Centre can provide a free interview venue.

7. Can you list some interview questions for employers' reference?

Here are some examples of interview questions:

  • Why do you choose to work as a Smart Helper?
  • Can you introduce yourself briefly?
  • What kind of work experience do you have?
  • Do you have any relevant work experience?
  • What household duties are you capable to do?
  • What is your expertise in household duties?
  • Where did you receive training as a Smart Helper? What kinds of skills have you learnt?
  • Should the need arise, are you able to work overtime or on holidays?

Before Employment

8. Can employers inspect the identity card of the Smart Helper and collect a copy of the identity card for record?

The Code on the Identity Card Number and other Personal Identifiers (“the Code”) published by the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (“the Commissioner”) permits a data user to collect a copy of an identity card in order to provide proof of compliance with any statutory requirement. An example of such statutory requirement is given under that paragraph in section 17J of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap 115). Under that section, a person is required first to inspect the identity card by another person before entering into a contract of employment with such other person.

However, the Code makes it clear that the collection of a copy of the identity card is not permitted merely in anticipation of a prospective relationship. Hence, when employers have not finalized the employment decision, they should not collect the applicant’s identity card copy. In other words, employees are only required to provide their copy of identity card upon acceptance of the job offer.

The Code also requires employers to implement adequate security safeguards for copies of identity cards that they hold. For details, please visit the website of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong at www.pcpd.org.hk or contact them at 2827 2827.

9. If a Smart Helper is hired under a verbal contract, is the employer bound by the verbal agreement?

A contract of employment is an agreement between the employer and the Smart Helper that sets out the terms and conditions of employment. The agreement can be made verbally or in writing. Both parties are bound by the terms of the agreement, provided that it does not violate any provisions of the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57).

10. Are employers required to take out employees' compensation insurance policies for Smart Helpers?

The Employees' Compensation Ordinance requires that all employers hold valid employees' compensation insurance policies. Hence, employers are required to take out employees’ compensation insurance policies to cover their liabilities for any work-related injury or fatality sustained by the Helpers that arise out of and in the course of employment.

11. Are employers required to make arrangements for their Smart Helpers to join the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme?

According to the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance, domestic helpers and their employers are exempted from joining the MPF Scheme.

12. Can employers require Smart Helpers to serve a probation period? Are employers required to pay wages to their Helpers during probation?

Employers may require newly-recruited Helpers to serve a probation period, provided that this has been clearly deliberated and the Helper’s consent has been obtained. Regardless of the duration of the probation period, employers are required to pay wages to their Helpers according to the actual number of hours worked, and take out short-term employees’ compensation insurance for their Helpers during the probation period. Short-term employees’ compensation insurance policies can be arranged through the Regional Service Centres.


13. What is the hourly wage of a Smart Helper?

Please Click here for the reference wages of Smart Helpers. The actual wage should be mutually agreed by the employer and the helper. Generally, higher pay may have to be paid to attract suitable helpers under the following circumstances:

  • Complicated job nature or jobs requiring special skills
  • Required to work after 6:00 pm and/or during holiday
  • Work in remote areas

14. How should wages be calculated and paid to Smart Helpers?

In general, wages are calculated on an hourly basis for part-time jobs and paid to the Helpers at the end of each working day. For full-time jobs, wages are calculated on a monthly basis and paid to the Helpers once a month.

In the Course of Employment

15. Should employers provide their Smart Helpers with cleaning kits and tools?

Generally, Smart Helpers provide services for their employers under the employment contracts. The wages payable to the Helpers do not include the provision of any job-related kits or tools, unless otherwise agreed in advance by the parties to the employment contracts.

16. Can employers request Smart Helpers to deliver household refuse/disused furniture to the housing estate/public refuse collection point for disposal?

The working area of household cleaning of Smart Helpers is restricted to the household unit. Smart Helpers can help employers dispose household refuse at the collection point within the building of the household unit. For delivery of refuse/ disused furniture to the housing estate/ public refuse collection point, employers should arrange by themselves.

17. Should employers let Smart Helpers work alone at home?

Employers should consider whether sufficient trust and mutual understanding have been built up with their Helpers, and ensure that their valuables are stored properly before leaving their Helpers alone in their homes. Otherwise, employers are advised to stay home while their Helpers are working in order to avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding or dispute arising from the work arrangements or the loss of any belongings.

18. What employers should do if they suspect their Smart Helpers had broken or stolen their property?

Employers should discuss with their Helpers to understand the actual circumstances. Employers may seek the assistance of the relevant Smart Living – Regional Service Centres for mediation of the disputes if necessary. Depending on the circumstances, employers may contact the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department. Please refer to the website of the Labour Department for contact information of the branch office of the Labour Relations Division, or call Labour Department's 24-hour Hotline: 2717 1771 for enquiry. Should criminal offence(s) be involved, the employer should report to the police.

19. If the Smart Helper has damaged or lost the property of the employer, can the employer deduct the wages as compensation?

According to the Employment Ordinance, employers can deduct wages from employees for damage to or loss of the employers’ goods, equipment, or property due to the employees’ neglect or default. The sum to be deducted shall be equivalent to the value of the damage or loss but not exceeding $300. The total of such deductions shall not exceed one quarter of the wages payable to the employees in that wage period.

20. Can employers install surveillance cameras at home to monitor a domestic helpers?

According to the “Privacy Guidelines: Monitoring and Personal Data Privacy at Work: Points to Note for Employers of Domestic Helpers” published by the Commissioner, the indiscriminate use of video cameras at home to monitor a domestic helper’s activities is by its nature an intrusion upon privacy. Employers must seriously assess the need for the monitoring and whether alternative means are available. After considering all these factors, employers nevertheless resolved to undertake video monitoring at home, they should consider the “reasonableness” of the manner in which the monitoring is carried out, the “openness” by which the helpers are informed about it and the proper handling of the resultant video records. For details, please visit the website of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong at www.pcpd.org.hk or contact them at 2827 2827.

21. Can employers install pinhole cameras at home?

Covert monitoring is not encouraged by the Commissioner especially when it is being used as preventive measure only. Unless justified by existence of relevant special circumstances, such as "a reasonable suspicion" of unlawful activity and there is no reasonable alternative, this should only be engaged in as a last resort. For details, please visit the website of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong at www.pcpd.org.hk or contact them at 2827 2827.