Confronting a New Normal: The Case of Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


The outbreak of the coronavirus has upended people’s lives with marginalized populations the most impacted. In Hong Kong, domestic workers face pressure from their employers who expect them to simultaneously keep the household clean and COVID-free, and to provide care duties to families, children and the elderly. Many workers have reported taking on additional workload, working longer hours and in some cases, continuing to work through their days off. Concurrently, domestic workers worry about their families back home who may have lost jobs or had fallen ill during the pandemic. Workers carry the additional financial burden to support and keep everyone afloat in this time of global health crisis. With few social protections and lack of policies to protect domestic workers in Hong Kong, they are left vulnerable, and their health and well-being severely affected. This paper seeks to explore the impacts of COVID-19 on Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong. Through preliminary surveys and semi-structured interviews, the paper examines how domestic workers have adjusted to the 'new normal’, and made use of varying strategies and resources to survive in this time of crisis. The paper also discusses the issues and challenges faced by domestic workers, and contemplates on the uncertainties of COVID-19 and lasting after effects of the pandemic on this community.


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