Foreign domestic helpers in HK get wage increase—DOLE
Baldoz, in a report early this week, said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is increasing the monthly minimum allowable wage (MAW) of foreign household service workers by HK$180, or 4.8 percent, and the monthly food allowance by HK$100, or 12.9 percent.
“From a monthly pay of HK$3,740 foreign HSWs including Filipinos will now be getting HK$3,920 a month, while the monthly food allowance rose from HK$775 to HK$875,” Baldoz said.
“This is a welcome development for our HSWs because the Hong Kong government has always been protective and considerate in looking after the welfare of expatriate workers,” Baldoz said.
Baldoz cited a press statement of the HK-SAR’s Labour Department which states: “the MAW and food allowance are only a minimum standard which are set to protect foreign domestic helpers from exploitation and to protect local workers from competition with low-wage foreign workers.”
Baldoz said the decision for the wage increase was made by Hong Kong’s labor department following its annual review of the MAW for foreign HSWs.
“The review took into consideration Hong Kong’s general economic and employment situation, relevant income movements, price changes and … labor market situation,” said Baldoz.
Hong Kong’s standard employment contract for hiring foreign HSWs requires employers to provide them with free food. Employers may also opt to pay their workers a food allowance in lieu of free food.
However, most employers in Hong Kong opt to pay the food allowance in cash.
In a report to Baldoz, Labor Attaché to Hong Kong Manuel C. Roldan said the new minimum wage and allowance shall apply to employment contracts signed by parties starting September 20, 2012, and does not apply or affect prevailing contracts or contracts signed until September 19, 2012. These contracts shall bear the previous rates.
“I have ordered our Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) to closely coordinate with the Hong Kong Immigration to implement this new wage policy with regards to the timeline set,” Baldoz added.
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