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Transcript of remarks by SLW on elderly care services and protection of foreign domestic helpers

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, on elderly care services and protection of the rights of foreign domestic helpers, after attending the graduation ceremony of the Capacity Building Mileage Programme today (July 28):

Reporter: Would you also explain about the policy of the elderly care?

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: We are very concerned about the well-being of our elderly citizens in Hong Kong. In fact, we are stepping up our support for elderly living in the community. Our policy is to encourage the elderly to live in the community rather than in institutions. So ageing in place is the core, as we always say, and institutional care as support. The latter is really a back-up and the last resort. We will certainly do more in this direction to reinforce the support for our senior citizens living in the community and living at home, including, for example, more contact with these so-called hidden elderly and also wider use of technology, for example, the Personal Emergency Link service and so on. So for any of these citizens, we will certainly do more to help them and also we will try to mobilise the local community to foster a good neighbourhood spirit in order to really foster a community sense of caring for the elderly across the board.

Reporter: (About the US Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report 2015.)

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: In relation to this so-called human trafficking report, there are parts in the report that do not reflect the actual situation in Hong Kong. In fact, we do have a good record in terms of protecting the interests and the well-being of foreign domestic helpers working here. A very good example is we have got a prescribed standard employment contract, a mandatory employment contract, requiring employers to provide, for example, minimum wage, and certain standards which are minimum to the protection of helpers working in Hong Kong. Apart from wage protection, they also enjoy full protection under the Hong Kong labour law which other jurisdictions do not confer on their domestic helpers. And also of course (the right to) medical benefits and employees' compensation and so on. We can't rule out the possibility of individual incidents and individual abuse cases but whenever these cases appear we will tackle them head-on and we will certainly enforce the law strictly. In fact, last year a highly publicised case involving an Indonesian helper in Hong Kong has resulted in a very heavy jail sentence imposed on the employer concerned. So we mean business in terms of protecting the interests and well-being of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:18


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