A lawyer has urged domestic workers in Hong Kong to assert their rights to get a 24-hour rest day, adding that employers face a fine of up to HK$50,000 (US$6,370) if they fail to let their employees have a day off.

Speaking during a forum at the Philippine Consulate General on March 24, lawyer Louise Le Pla said domestic workers who are not given their full rest day should talk to their employers first to see if the situation can be remedied, hongkongnews.com.hk reported.

“A rest day is a full 24 hours. So, if your boss is asking you to walk the dog before you go visit your friends on Sunday, that’s not allowed. That’s illegal,” said Le Pla, adding: “If your boss is telling you to be home by 8 pm so you can put the kids to bed on Sunday, that is not right.”

An employer who fails to provide a rest day can be fined HK$50,000 if they do not provide that full 24-hour period. She advised domestic workers to talk to their employers first about the rest day. If the situation did not improve, they could seek assistance from organizations or call the consulate.

Le Pla said she understood the concern of workers that their employers might terminate them if they complain, but she noted that the Labour Tribunal had also “enforced” workers’ rights.