Date
26 July 2017
The Labor Tribunal is hearing a claim for HK$72,000 by a domestic helper who said she was made to care for 60 pets by her employer. Photos: RTHK, YouTube
The Labor Tribunal is hearing a claim for HK$72,000 by a domestic helper who said she was made to care for 60 pets by her employer. Photos: RTHK, YouTube

Filipina seeks HK$72,000 for looking after 60 pets over 12 years

A Filipino domestic helper is seeking HK$72,000 (US$9,640) in additional compensation from her employer for overwork, saying she was made to care for 60 pets.

Lenely Reyteran Centeno wants to be paid extra for looking after 38 dogs, 21 cats and one rabbit, Apple Daily reports, citing documents from the Labor Tribunal.

The amount is on top of HK$90,000 for the remaining 22 months of her two-year contract with Chan Sau-yiu, who runs a volunteer group that provides shelter for stray animals.

Centeno filed the claim with the Labor Tribunal last year in which she initially sought HK$19,000 in lieu of notice, plus outstanding payment for statutory holidays and annual leave, after saying she was sacked by her employer.

In October, she increased the amount to HK$110,000 including HK$90,000 for the remainder of her contract.

And last month, she lodged a claim with the tribunal for the extra HK$72,000 for the 12 years she cared for the animals.

Chan, chairperson of Lok Hong Social Service Association, said caring for pets and cleaning were in Centeno’s employment contract. 

She said Centeno was satisfied with the arrangement or she would not have worked for her for 12 years.

Also, Chan said Centeno was paid an extra HK$50 to HK$150 each time she helped walk the dogs on top of her salary of HK$4,100.

Two years ago, Centeno’s niece was hired from the Philippines to help her with the chores, Chan said.

Chan said Centeno left without the required one-month notice in August and her niece quit shortly after.

Since then, Chan said she has been receiving calls from a financing company about a HK$100,000 loan to Centeno.

Lawyer Daniel Wong said there is a time limit for filing claims.

Employees should file for early termination or refuse to sign a contract renewal if there is a mismatch between the contract terms and the actual duties.

Yung Ma Shan-yee, chairperson of the Employers of Domestic Helpers, said many Hong Kong families treat their pets as family members and should state their number in the contract.

She said the helper should refuse to sign the contract, report the matter to immigration authorities or terminate the contract immediately if there are discrepancies in the terms of employment.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

DY/AC/RA

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