HK Governemnt Freezes Minimum Wage for Domestic Workers

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The Government announced yesterday (September 29) that the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong would remain at $4,630 per month, and the food allowance would remain at not less than $1,121 per month.

“In accordance with the established practice, we have carefully considered Hong Kong’s general economic and labour market conditions over the past year, as well as Hong Kong’s near-term economic outlook, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account the above, the affordability of employers and the livelihood of FDHs, the Government has decided that the levels of the MAW and food allowance for FDHs should remain unchanged.”

A Government spokesman said, “The Government reviews the MAW and food allowance for FDHs regularly. In accordance with the established practice, we have carefully considered Hong Kong’s general economic and labour market conditions over the past year, as well as Hong Kong’s near-term economic outlook, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account the above, the affordability of employers and the livelihood of FDHs, the Government has decided that the levels of the MAW and food allowance for FDHs should remain unchanged.”

The spokesman added, “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.”

The spokesman stressed that the MAW and food allowance for FDHs are set to safeguard FDHs against exploitation and to protect local workers from competition with low-wage foreign labour. Employers may choose to pay their FDHs more than the MAW and minimum food allowance, having regard to their individual circumstances.

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