An Indian man has agreed to pay back-wages and settle the claims of his domestic helper in a case that was mediated by the Labour Department.
Haravtar Singh Brar has been accused of not paying his 50-year-old domestic helper, who also hails from India, for five months even as he made her work very long hours.
Brar, who is 30 years in age, employed Rani Kaur from January to May this year, according to a Ming Pao Daily report.
However, her employer didn’t pay any salary and she was also refused weekly holidays.
Meanwhile, Kaur was forced to work for around 16 hours a day, doing various chores for Brar’s family.
With the help of a Pakistani she met in May, the domestic helper managed to escape from her abusive employer.
The matter was then taken up with the Labour Department, which summoned Brar for questioning.
Following the government department’s intervention, Brar agreed to pay the salary arrears — which amounted to HK$15,000 — to Kaur.
But Brar is now facing action from the department for breach of the employment ordinance.
On Dec. 24, Brar denied the charges against him in the Tsuen Wan Law Court.
Tang Kin-wah, secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions, said Kaur’s case illustrates the problems faced by domestic helpers in the city.
The support given by the government to domestic helpers is far from enough, Tang said, noting that the helpers have to bear all the expenses themselves for any lawsuits against employers.
While launching legal action, the maids often have to contend with the problem of work visa expiration, the labor activist said.
The government should at least provide shelter for the workers while they fight court cases, Tang said.
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