About 1,000 foreign domestic helpers yesterday protested against the temporary suspension of the employers' levy, saying it had threatened their livelihoods, and called for permanent abolition of the tax. Chanting 'Abolish the levy. Wage increase now' in English and Chinese, the group marched from Chater Road to the Central Government Offices. Hundreds of domestic helpers who were resting under the HSBC building cheered loudly as protesters passed through. Eni Lestari, spokeswoman for the Asian Migrants' Co-ordinating Body, said about 10 domestic helpers had lost their jobs recently because of the suspension of the HK$400 monthly levy on employers, which is expected to take effect on Friday. Ms Lestari said these employers were firing the maids in order to hire new ones after the waiver began. Other maids had told the organisation their employers were not going to renew their contracts until after the suspension, she said. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen last week announced the waiver as one of 10 measures aimed at helping families cope with rising inflation. Employers will save HK$9,600 over the two years of the suspension. Siti Suparman, a 33-year-old Indonesian maid, said her employer terminated her contract on July 20, a few days after the announcement. She had worked for the family for only 10 months. 'They didn't tell me anything beforehand,' she said. 'All they said was 'I can't use you anymore'. I'm unhappy. I have no job and no money,' she said. She moved to Hong Kong five years ago to make money to help support her elderly parents and teenage sisters at home. But under the law she can only stay two more weeks before moving back to Indonesia. Even if she finds another job during this time, she would have to pay an agent's fee of four months' pay. Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor and Amnesty International said yesterday the government had neglected foreign workers' rights in its implementation of this policy. A Labour and Welfare Bureau spokesman said yesterday implementation of the proposal to suspend the levy for two years would be advanced from September 1 to August 1, subject to the Executive Council's approval.