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Hong Kong: Three years and waiting- Indonesian DW still owed money locked into welfare account of dead Hong Kong boss

Hong Kong: Three years and waiting- Indonesian DW still owed money locked into welfare account of dead Hong Kong boss

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by IDWFED published Aug 24, 2016 12:00 AM
Contributors: Jasmine Siu/SCMP
Back home in Surabaya, Sri Agustini urges the Social Welfare Department to release the HK$21,000 due to her after serving disabled employer for over seven years.

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HONG KONG -

Read the original article in full:  Three years and waiting: Indonesian helper still owed money locked into welfare account of dead Hong Kong boss | SCMP

Excerpt:

For more than seven years, Sri Agustini worked around the clock. Even as she slept, it was with one eye open, just in case her quadriplegic employer needed assistance to turn in bed or go to the bathroom.

“At first I couldn’t wake up – she had to call out for me in a loud voice,” the Indonesian recalled in fluent Cantonese. “Sometimes she wouldn’t sleep.”

It was not an easy job.


Photo: SCMP (Screen capture)

Despite her dedication to the job, Agustini was not rewarded with long-service pay, or even a paid ticket home, when she was suddenly dismissed after her employer Fung Ying, 55, died in October 2013. Those payments were locked in Fung’s welfare accounts.

Her entitlements – including 12 days of annual leave – amounted to HK$21,616, or 36.75 million Indonesian rupiah.

Now back home in Surabaya, a port city on the Indonesian island of Java, Agustini is struggling to feed her family of six and is borrowing money just to buy milk powder for her one-year-old twins.

Back in Hong Kong, her late employer’s sister Fung Kam-yuen, 55, was stockpiling milk powder in her Lei Tung Estate flat to mail her.

“Turns out exports of milk formula are banned,” she said, before turning to ask Agustini in a video conference call to come back to Hong Kong.

Agustini’s case has shed light on the treatment of foreign domestic helpers hired using the Social Welfare Department’s Care and Attention Allowance (C&A), which was introduced in June 2004 for quadriplegics who received Comprehensive Social Security Allowance.

I don’t want to sue them, I just want to get back the money. - Sri Agustini

The Social Welfare Department is simply placing a minority to take care of another minority as a solution to the social problem
Leo Tang Kin-wah, Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Union

Leo Tang Kin-wah of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Union, who was introduced to Agustini through her agent, demanded the department exercise discretion.

He questioned why domestic helpers were not directly paid by the department when the existing arrangement left employers at risk of breaking the law.

“Each employer has many responsibilities to their foreign domestic helpers but Fung Ying obviously did not have the capacity to fulfil them,” Tang said. “The Social Welfare Department is simply placing a minority to take care of another minority as a solution to the social problem.”

Her sister Kam-yuen recalled that she was regularly asked to witness salary payments every month and to take turns with her siblings in helping Ying to fill in forms.

The department said its staff would remind recipients of their statutory obligations under the Employment Ordinance and Immigration Ordinance in hiring domestic helpers.

“To ensure that the allowance has been spent for the intended purpose, [the department] will carry out regular case reviews and check salary receipts, the employment contract and receipts for other expenses,”it added.

News in Chinese:

新聞來源:僱主離世  社署指欠文件拒批款項      印傭追長服金兩年無果 | 蘋果日報

在港照顧患肌肉萎縮症僱主7年的印傭阿離(Ms. Agustini, Sri),兩年前僱主逝世,原可領約2萬元長期服務金,但因僱主家人老弱多病無法申領遺產承辦書,其長服金至今未獲批。職工盟指阿離透過社署資助獲聘,盼當局通融批出款項。有大律師強調法律程序無問題,稱若個案獲酌情,或湧現大量相同個案,建議印傭諮詢律師。

記者︰廖梓霖

阿離僱主馮英生前患有肌肉萎縮症、全癱,靠領綜援金過活,9年前透過社署每月發放的特別照顧津貼,聘請阿離照顧自己。馮英因為呼吸困難於兩年前逝世,按照法例,阿離可領長期服務金、回程機票、假期等共$21,000元薪酬。

阿離稱當時社署表示,馮英的家人需要按照既定程序,由遺產承辦人、即馮英的母親,親身到高等法院申領遺產承辦書,社署方可批出有關款項。

家屬無法領遺產承辦書

馮英妹妹馮錦園指其母患長期病,一直無法到高院申請承辦書。拖拉1年後,馮英母親去年去世,社署向阿離稱若要批出其長期服務金,除需要馮英的遺產承辦書外,亦需馮英母親家人申領其母的遺產承辦書,證明兩人的母女關係。

一直協助此個案的職工盟秘書處組織幹事鄧建華表示,馮英一家人生活貧苦,兩名死者基本上無剩下任何遺產,加上馮錦園因病影響記憶力,無法應高院要求提供其母的出世紙、死亡證,事件已經到達不能前進的樽頸位。

鄧建華指上月去信社署促對方通融,盡快批出阿離的長期服務金。鄧建華坦言欠薪是刑事罪,阿離理論上可透過勞資審裁處控告僱主,質疑社署處理緩慢令馮英家人涉犯法,惟他指阿離和馮英關係深厚、馮的家人亦一直協助事件,眾人皆不欲對簿公堂。

大律師陸偉雄指根據阿離個案,領長服金必須經法定程序,以確定法律上她有合理身份取得報酬。他坦言程序必定繁複,但無捷徑,不贊同社署因此事開酌情先例,「如果外傭行動不便、或者有好大困難,或者有酌情機會,唔喺香港、或者等得耐,唔係合適理由。」

陸偉雄形容若此「水閘」一開,日後或有成千上萬類似個案求情。陸偉雄建議阿離向律師尋求建議,了解是否可透過宣誓等途徑取得遺產承辦書,加快長服金審批過程。

社署回覆指,馮英去世後,已向馮女士的家人及其外傭詳細解釋有關安排,而在2014年6月後,署方未再有收到有關馮女士遺產的申索通知、或外傭的有關查詢。及至上月才收到有關外傭的轉介,現時一直積極探討可行方法,盡快發放有關津貼款項予馮女士的家人,以期轉交外傭Ms Agustini。

Source: Jasmine Siu/SCMP

Story Type: News

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