A Legislative Councillor urged the setting up of centers to meet the needs of the rising number of domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Lawmaker and vice chairman of Hong Kong’s Labour Party Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung suggested centers should be set up across the city’s 18 districts. They would provide training, emergency assistance, or shelter services for domestic workers in distress, hongkongnews.com.hk reported.

Cheung slammed the Hong Kong government for its limited training for domestic workers, arguing that the government should fund and set up centers to address their needs.

In November last year, Labour and Welfare Secretary Dr Law Chi-kwong said that, in 30 years’ time, Hong Kong would need around 600,000 foreign domestic workers due to the city’s ageing population.

However, a recent research study conducted by the Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW) showed that the support for foreign domestic workers who are now caring for the elderly was seriously inadequate. Shortcomings in the provision of rest days and sleeping arrangements particularly affect workers’ well-being, according to the report.

The study canvassed the views of more than 1500 domestic workers and several focus group discussions among Filipino, Indonesian, Thai, Sri Lankan, and Nepali migrant workers. It found that two out five domestic workers who take care of the elderly experience problems regarding rest days.

One in every 10 of them do not have even one day off.

Meanwhile, one out of three domestic workers in elderly care have issues with sleeping arrangements and working hours.

On any given day, there are 20 workers in Hong Kong who take care of elderly persons continuously for 24 hours, the study showed.

The group urged the government to improve support for and protection of domestic workers employed in care for the elderly.