People in Hong Kong who are planning to hire domestic helpers should be aware of the laws pertaining to the minimum wages that are to be paid to the helpers. Domestic helper salary has always been debated issue. Helpers ask for a rise in wages but the employers cannot afford to pay such high salaries. The Hong Kong government has set down the minimum wage requirements and other related criteria to find a middle way that suits both the employers and the workers. Don’t forget that the minimum is not the salary market!
Minimum Wage for a Domestic Helper
- The government has set a Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) of HK $4,410 per month which the employer has to pay to the helper.
- The Standard Employment Contract also includes food allowance of HK $1,053 per month which has to be paid by the employer separately. If the food allowance is not offered then the employer has to provide Free food to the helper. This means that the helper will cook his or her food with the ingredients supplied by the employer.
- Free accommodation in the house of the employer is a part of the package.
- 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 not only has to pay the domestic helper salary but also take into consideration other expenses before hiring a helper.
Average Domestic Helper Salary Paid
There are some areas 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 minimum level set by the law. The average helper salary in these areas is close to HK $4,410. The employers living in these districts are more local families and they know very well how to hire a helper. They don’t hesitate to hire candidates coming from overseas and these candidates are easily accepting the minimum salary in order to work in Hong Kong.
Another factor that affects the helper salary is that the expat families living in areas like Stanley, Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay and Clear Water Bay pay the helpers the best salaries in Hong Kong. The range of helper salary in these areas is from HK $4,800 to HK $6,000. The expat are easily offering better salary. The helpers can get the chance of earning even higher salaries of up to HK $15,000 from employers living in Happy Valley, Pok Fu Lam, Sai Kung, Kowloon Tong and Central.
The domestic helper salary not only depends on the minimum wage requirements set by the government and the area of employment but also on factors like the skills and experience of the helpers. Helpers are paid more if they have a driver’s licence, more than 10 years of experience, first aid certificate or experience in nursing. Both locals and expats look for helpers who are the best skills for their families. Employers should keep in mind all these factors with regard to the helper salary before making an offer and should increase the wage voluntarily if the helper is well qualified for the job.
A lot of people are looking for finished contract in order to start within 3 weeks. As they are not alone to interview these candidates, offering a higher salary will give more chance to hire the right helper.
Importance of the Salary for the Helper
Those who are thinking of hiring domestic helpers in Hong Kong should consider the fact that the helper leaves her own country and family to work for them in a foreign land. It is important to acknowledge the service provided by the helper. The helper sends a part of the helper salary to her family back home and spends money to live in hong kong (food, phone, internet, shopping, activities….). These expenses take up more than half of the salary of the helper after which the helper is left with a few hundred dollars as savings.
Even after working so hard, the financial condition of the helper does not improve. The helper comes in Hong Kong with the expectation that the wages will help in improving her family’s standard of living. However, in reality, the cost of living is increasing at such a fast pace everywhere that the minimum helper salary which is being offered currently is not sufficient to cover the daily expenses of the helper’s family. The salary is the first thing that a helper looks at when a job is offered because the wage should be lucrative enough for the helper to consider moving from one country to another.
The Benefits of Offering a Good Salary
It is very difficult for families living in Hong Kong to find domestic helpers to provide help in the household work. The availability of helpers is gradually falling because of the unattrractive wage rates being offered by the employers. The only solution for this problem is that employers need to incentivise the helpers by offering them good salaries. The wage level should be such that the helper is able to send money home and save some of it for daily expenses. There are various benefits that the employer can enjoy by providing a good salary to the helper.
The biggest advantage is that a good salary helps in retaining a domestic helper for a long time. The family employing the worker can benefit from the service and help provided by the helper.
If the helper salary is lucrative and in accordance with the skill and qualifications of the helper, then the helper is motivated to perform better and work harder.
A harmonious relationship can be established between the helper and the employer which is 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.