The Government of Hong Kong announced last week, that the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong will be increased by 2.4 per cent, from $4,210 to $4,310 per month. The new levels of the MAW and food allowance will apply to all FDH contracts signed on or after October 1, 2016.
Under the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs, employers are required to provide FDHs with food free of charge. At present, the vast majority of employers provide free food to FDHs. Employers may, however, choose to pay a food allowance in lieu.
If employers choose to pay a food allowance to foreign domestic helpers, the allowance will be increased by $42 (or 4.2 per cent) from not less than $995 to not less than $1,037 per month.
A spokesman said, “The Government reviews the MAW for FDHs regularly. In accordance with the established practice, we have carefully considered Hong Kong’s general economic and labour 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.”
“Moreover, the Government has taken into account Hong Kong’s near-term economic outlook, as well as the need to strike a balance between affordability for employers on one hand and the livelihood of FDHs on the other in reaching the decision on the above-mentioned adjustment.”
The spokesman added, “The Government has also reviewed the food allowance in lieu of free food, and decided to increase the allowance level.”
FDH contracts signed on September 30 or earlier at the existing MAW of $4,210 per month and food allowance of not less than $995 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) provided that the applications reach ImmD on or before October 28.
This arrangement will give employers sufficient time to send the signed contracts to ImmD for completion of the necessary application procedures.
In another report, workers and campaigners are pushing for the minimum salary for domestic workers to be increased by HK$790 to HK$5,000 a month, with the government expected to announce the result of a wage review in the coming days.
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