10 Reasons for Domestic Helper Termination

In Hong Kong's bustling environment, domestic helpers are essential for many households. Finding the right fit for both employer and helper results in a positive working relationship, although sometimes there may be an unfortunate pairing or negative circumstances may arise. Understanding the possible reasons for terminating a domestic helper is equally crucial for both parties. This knowledge ensures fairness, transparency, and a clear understanding of the rights and responsibilities of either person.  

The Delicate Balance of Domestic Helper Contracts in Hong Kong

Every employment agreement in Hong Kong is not just about tasks and schedules; it is a testament to a commitment made by both the employer and the helper. Within this balance lies mutual respect, understanding, and a shared goal of harmony and efficient work. As with any relationship, challenges and misunderstandings can arise, prompting a re-evaluation of terms. It is in such instances that understanding the valid reasons for breaking a contract in HK becomes invaluable, serving as a safeguard for the rights and welfare of both parties. 

As we navigate through this complex subject, here are 10 common reasons why domestic helpers are terminated in Hong Kong. Being aware of these reasons is essential because it helps both parties maintain a transparent relationship, set clear expectations, and ensure that actions leading to termination are based on informed decisions rather than impulses or misunderstandings.

Reason #1: Breach of Contract

A contract outlines the responsibilities of both parties. When there is a breach, it signifies a breakdown in this mutual understanding. It can be as straightforward as the helper recurrently failing to adhere to working hours or commitments. Such discrepancies undermine trust and can lead to domestic helper contract termination.

Reason #2: Misconduct Outside Employment

While everyone deserves personal freedom, actionsjeopardising the trust or reputation of the employer can be problematic. Engaging in unlawful activities or behaviours that go against the values of the employing family can serve as grounds for termination. It emphasises the need for professional integrity both inside and outside the employer's premises.

Reason #3: Theft or Dishonesty

Honesty is a cornerstone of any employer-helper relationship. Acts of theft or consistent dishonesty can severely damage this bond. Whether it is pilfering household items or lying about personal details and experiences, such acts can rapidly lead to the decision to terminate a domestic helper.

Reason #4: Inability to Perform Duties

While occasional mistakes or lapses can be forgiven, a consistent inability to perform assigned tasks can lead to dissatisfaction. Suppose a helper is unable to manage chores effectively, care for children as agreed upon, or even meet the basic expectations outlined in the contract. In that case, it may lead to considerations of domestic helper termination.

Reason #5: Consistent Negligence or Carelessness

Occasional forgetfulness is human. However, consistent negligence, like leaving the stove on or misplacing essential items, especially when it poses risks to household safety, can become serious grounds for termination. Such repeated actions signify a lack of attention to detail and responsibility.

Reason #6: Misrepresentation of Skills or Experience

Trust starts right from the hiring process. If an employer discovers that a helper has exaggerated or falsified their skills, qualifications, or even past experiences, it not only disrupts the workflow but also breaks the trust, often leading to the termination of a domestic helper.

Reason #7: Abusive Behaviour or Harassment

A household should be a haven of safety and comfort. Any hint of abusive behaviour, either towards other household members or even pets, is intolerable. Harassment, bullying, or any form of emotional, physical, or verbal abuse is a valid reason for breaking your domestic helper’s contract in HK.

Reason #8: Refusal to Follow Reasonable Orders

A smooth household operation requires coordination and following set routines or instructions. If a helper repeatedly dismisses or challenges reasonable requests or instructions without valid reasons, it reflects a lack of cooperation and can lead to termination.

Reason #9: Serious Health Concerns

Open communication about health is vital. If a helper faces health issues that hinder their duties, which are however not discussed during hiring, it can lead to complications. While empathy is crucial, if the health concern consistently affects the helper's performance and ability to fulfil necessary tasks, a discussion about possible termination may need to be held. 

Reason #10: Mutual Agreement Between Employer and Helper

Sometimes, for personal or other reasons, both the employer and helper might feel the employment isn't working out. A mutual agreement to end the contract is the most harmonious form of termination, reflecting mutual respect and understanding.

Navigating the Termination Process

Terminating a domestic helper's contract is not a straightforward endeavour. It's crucial for employers to approach the process with fairness, understanding, and due diligence. Start by having an open conversation with your helper about the reasons for termination, ensuring they understand and have the opportunity to voice their concerns. 

Remember, clear communication minimises misunderstandings and potential disputes. Also, be aware of the legal requirements; ensure you provide the appropriate notice or payment in lieu and settle any outstanding wages or benefits. 


The connection between a domestic helper and an employer in Hong Kong involves layers of trust, understanding, and mutual respect. While the reasons for domestic helper termination mentioned above are prevalent, it is pivotal for both parties to communicate openly, address concerns, and ensure that the environment remains conducive for both. Termination should always be a last resort after all avenues of understanding and adjustments have been explored. Being informed and considerate can pave the way for a long-lasting, respectful employer-helper relationship in Hong Kong. 

The information provided on this website is for reference only. No express or implied warranty is given by the Sunlight Employment agency as to the accuracy of the information and will NOT be liable for any errors in, omissions from, or misstatements or misrepresentations (whether express or implied) concerning any such information.