Date
21 July 2017
Many domestic helpers prefer to receive food allowance rather than eat with their employer's family. Photo: CNSA
Many domestic helpers prefer to receive food allowance rather than eat with their employer's family. Photo: CNSA

Domestic helpers disappointed with HK$100 wage hike

The Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body said it was disappointed with the Hong Kong government’s decision to raise the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers by only HK$100 a month, Apple Daily reported.

AMCB spokesperson Eman Villanueva said the 2.4 percent wage hike would not be enough to cover the increase in the cost of living. 

The raise will see the minimum pay for domestic helpers go up to HK$4,210 from HK$4,110 a month.

The Hong Kong government has raised the minimum wage for domestic helpers for the past five consecutive years.

In its latest decision, the government also hiked the meal allowance by 3.2 percent from HK$964 to HK$995 a month.

Under the employment contract for hiring domestic helpers, employers are required to give them free meals or a food allowance.

The new wages will be applicable for all contracts signed from Oct. 1.

“In accordance with the established practice, we have carefully considered Hong Kong’s general economic and labor market situations over the last year, as reflected through a basket of economic indicators, including the relevant income movement and price change in this year’s review,” a government spokesman said.

Yung Ma Shan-yee, of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, said domestic helpers with a good record of performance will have no problem finding a job that offers more than the minimum wage, as affluent employers do not mind paying more if the quality of service is satisfactory.

However, the wage increase could be a burden for families who only make around HK$15,000 a month, as employers also have to pay the agent’s fee, insurance and plane ticket for the helper, all of which would translate to an average of HK$6,000 in monthly expenses.

Yung also said many helpers are asking for food allowance instead of eating with the employer’s family.

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EL/AC/CG

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