Hong Kong raises salary of domestic helpers

Posted at 09/21/2012 2:09 AM | Updated as of 09/21/2012 2:24 PM

HONG KONG – The government has increased the monthly salary of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs), mostly Filipinos.

For employment contracts signed starting yesterday, the Minimum Allowable Wage for FDHs was increased by HK$180 (P954), or from HK$3,740 to HK$3,920 (P19,822 to P20,776) per month.

Hong Kong’s Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs also requires employers to provide helpers with free food. Employers, however, may choose to pay food allowance in lieu of free food.

The government also increased the foreign workers monthly food allowance by HK$100 (P530), from not less than HK$775 to not less than HK$875 (P4,108 to P4,638).

“The government has all along regularly reviewed the Minimum Allowable Wage for FDHs. In this year’s review, after taking carefully into consideration Hong Kong’s general economic and employment situation, as reflected through a basket of economic indicators including the relevant income movements, price changes and labor market situation, the government has decided to make the above-mentioned adjustment,” a spokesman for the Hong Kong government said.

“The government has also reviewed the food allowance in lieu of free food and decided to raise it to the above-mentioned level, after taking into account the movement in the relevant consumer price index,” the spokesman added.

The spokesman stressed that the minimum allowable wage and food allowance are only a minimum standard, to protect FDHs from exploitation and to protect local workers from competition with low-wage foreign workers.

He said employers might choose to give FDHs better terms than the minimum allowable wage and food allowance, depending on their individual situations.

To give employers sufficient time to send the signed contracts to the Immigration Department for completion, contracts signed on or earlier than Sept. 19 with the monthly Minimum Allowable Wage of HK$3,740 and food allowance of not less than $775 would still be processed by the Immigration Department, provided that the applications reach the department on or before Oct. 17.