A Hong Kong furniture store has drawn flak after it posted an advertisement for a 68-centimetre-wide cupboard that doubles as a bed meant for domestic helpers.
The images, which were posted on Mainland social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu last week, showed a cupboard that is about 2.4 metres high.
The top half of the piece of furniture, described as a “combination bed”, measures 68 centimetres wide and 95 centimetres high, with a depth of about 195 centimetres. It is accessed by a 147-centimetre high ladder and two slatted doors.
This section of the cupboard is covered at the top, and provides ventilation only via a hole near the head of the sleeping area and the slats of the doors. The entire unit costs more than RMB10,000 (HK$10,828).
According to the Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Rules section of a Domestic Helper Contract for Hong Kong, an employer must provide a helper “suitable accommodation and with reasonable privacy”.
While helpers may share a room with children or sleep in a separate partitioned area of a room, they cannot sleep on “made-do beds in the corridor with little privacy” or share a room with an adult or teenager of the opposite sex.
However, it does not specify any minimum size of a helper’s living space as, “the average flat size in Hong Kong is relatively small and the availability of [a] separate servant room is not common.”
Any application for an entry visa for a helper will be denied if an employer cannot provide a prospective employee light and water supply, a toilet and bathing facilities, a bed, blankets or quilt, pillows, and a wardrobe for free.
Header image credits: Xiaohongshu