How much is the Domestic Helper Salary 2024 in Hong Kong?

How much is the Domestic Helper Salary 2024 in Hong Kong?


19 Apr 2024 | 5 min read

Are you an employer contemplating the hiring of a domestic helper in Hong Kong, or seeking guidance on determining an appropriate salary for potential candidates? Look no further! This article is tailored just for you. We'll delve into the specifics of domestic helper minimum wage and average salaries, provide insights on how to decide the best remuneration package, outline the timing for salary disbursement, and discuss the benefits of offering a competitive salary.

What is Hong Kong Minimum Wage for Domestic Helper in 2024?

Effective 30 September 2023, the government has set a minimum domestic helper salary of HK$4,870 per month which the employer must pay to foreign domestic helpers. The new rates apply to contracts signed on or after this specific date. The government considers labour market conditions when reviewing and setting the minimum domestic helper salary.

The minimum domestic helper salary, also known as the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW), is a statutory minimum salary for all Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDH) in Hong Kong, regardless of their nationalities, set at HK$4,870 per month following government reviews conducted by the Hong Kong Labour Department. 

The consequences of illegal wages include:

  • The Immigration Department refused entry to the helper if the wage was lower than the MAW filled in the Standard Employment Contract (ID407).
  • An employer who underpays would be sentenced to a maximum fine of HK$350,000 and three years imprisonment.

You should pay extra attention to the MAW, that even with an agreement with the helper, underpaying is still counted as illegal.

The Standard Employment Contract includes a monthly wage plus a food allowance of HK$1,236 per month which the employer must pay separately. If the food allowance is not offered, the employer must provide Free food to the helper. This means that the helper will cook his or her food with the ingredients supplied by the employer.

Here are some additional costs included in the law that the employer needs to bear apart from the basic salary:

  • Free accommodation in the employer's house is a part of the package.
  • Any cost related to visa and passport processing
  • The helper is also supposed to get a free ticket to return to her home country after the contract expires or gets terminated.
  • The employer has to cover the medical expenses of the helper and take out an insurance policy for the helper.

These laws show that the employer must not only pay the domestic helper's salary but also consider other expenses before hiring a helper.

When should you pay the domestic helper salary ?

According to Labour Department, the employer should pay the helper within 7 days after the end of the wage period (i.e. every month counting from contract starts), by cheque, bank transfer or cash. You can download the Sample Wage Receipt of FDH at the “Practical Guide of Foreign Domestic Helper

What is the Average Domestic Helper Salary?

Overall, the average domestic helper minimum wage increased to around HK$5,310 in 2024.

There are some areas with more local families in Hong Kong, like Fanling, Tsuen Wan, Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long where the helper salary is just a few HK dollars above the Hong Kong minimum wage, the average helper salary in these areas is close to HK$4,890. A lot of employers there have a preference to hire candidates coming from overseas; these candidates accept most of the time the minimum salary in order to work in Hong Kong.

Areas with higher-income families or more expat families, like Stanley, Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, and Clearwater Bay, pay the best salaries in Hong Kong. The range of helper salaries in these areas is from HK$5,000 to HK$8,000. Some helpers (with driving license or specific kills) can earn even higher salaries of up to HK$15,000 from employers living in Happy Valley, Pok Fu Lam, Sai Kung, Kowloon Tong, and Central.

How should you decide the Salary of your Helper?

The domestic helper salary depends not only on the minimum wage requirements set by the government and the area of employment but also on factors like the helpers' skills and experience. Helpers are paid more if they have a driver's license, more than 10 years of experience, a first-aid certificate, or experience in nursing. Both locals and expats are looking for helpers with the best skills for their families.

You should consider all these factors when making an offer. Remember to increase the wage voluntarily if the helper is qualified for the job. Many people are looking for finished contract helpers to start within 3 weeks. As they are not alone to interview these candidates, offering a higher salary will give more chances to hire the right helper.

Why is the Salary Important for the Domestic Helper?

The helper leaves her country and family to work for them in a foreign land. It is important to acknowledge the service provided by the helper.

Domestic workers in Hong Kong face significant financial struggles, with the need for a salary that adequately addresses the impact of inflation and the coronavirus pandemic becoming increasingly critical. Despite their hard work, the so-called 'slave wage' does not cover their living expenses, leaving them with minimal savings.

The helper sends a part of her salary to her family back home and spends money to live in Hong Kong (food, phone, internet, shopping, activities…., etc.). Daily expenses take up more than half of the salary, after which the helper is left with a few hundred dollars as savings. Even after working so hard, the helper's financial condition does not improve.

The helper comes to Hong Kong with the expectation that the wages will improve her family’s standard of living. However, with the rapid increase in prices, MAW is not sufficient to cover the all the expenses of the helper's family. The salary is the first thing that a helper looks at when a job is offered. The wage should be lucrative enough for the helper to consider moving from one country to another.

What are the Benefits to you for Offering Domestic Helper a Good Salary?

It is sometimes difficult for families living in Hong Kong to find domestic helpers available to start within 3 months. Due to high demand, helpers are in short supply; competitive salaries can definitively attract more skilled and experienced domestic helpers. Employers offering unattractive wages may struggle significantly to hire a domestic helper with a finished contract in Hong Kong (hiring from overseas will be the best solution).

The employer can enjoy various benefits by providing a good salary to the helper. The biggest advantage is that a good salary helps retain a domestic helper for a long time. The family employing the worker can benefit from the service provided. If the salary is lucrative and in accordance with the helper's skills and qualifications, she will be motivated to perform better and work harder.

The helper and the employer can establish a harmonious relationship based on mutual benefit. It is always better to have satisfied helpers rather than complaining ones. The level of trust between the helper and the employee also increases so that both can depend on each other. All these advantages are available to employers who pay good wages to the helpers.

Treating the helper with respect and acknowledging her effort can go a long way in creating a good working environment for the helper and increasing helper productivity. Therefore, an important issue like domestic helper salary should be carefully considered before employing a helper.