The Hong Kong Labour Department announced on 28 September 2018 the increase in Foreign Domestic Workers’ (FDWs) minimum wage.
The Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) will grow by 2.5%, from HK$4,410 to HK$4,520 per month.
In addition, the Government also announced a 2.1% increase in the minimum food allowance for foreign domestic helpers, from $1,053 per month to not less than $1,075 per month – employers in Hong Kong have a choice between providing their foreign domestic helper with food free of charge or granting them a food allowance in lieu.
The Minimum Allowable Wage and Food Allowance levels for foreign domestic helpers are regularly reviewed by the government in light of various economic indicators including inflation. The recently-announced new levels will be effective on 29 September 2018 and directly applicable to any Standard Employment Contract signed between a foreign domestic helper and an employer on or after said date.
Over the past years, the monthly minimum salary of foreign domestic helpers increased by HK$100 every year. This increase is not considered enough for the migrant workers, who have been demanding the Government to raise the helpers’ minimum monthly wage to HK$5,500.
However, a study conducted by HelperChoice, which analysed the data of more than 2,000 job ads posted on its platform from 1 October 2017 to 31 July 2018, revealed a very encouraging trend: for the 2nd consecutive year, the average salary offered by employers located in Hong Kong increased faster than the legal minimum wage, 5.5% between 2017 and 2018. In the meantime, the consumer price index increased by 2.5%. This means that the domestic helpers have more to save, to send to their families back home or to improve their daily life in Hong Kong.