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Minimum Allowable Wage and food allowance for foreign domestic helpers to increase

     The Government announced today (September 19) that the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong will be increased by $180 from $3,740 to $3,920 per month, up by 4.8 per cent.

     Under the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs, employers are required to provide FDHs with food free of charge. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of employers at present provide free food to FDHs. Employers may also choose to pay a food allowance in lieu of free food.

     If employers choose to provide FDHs with a food allowance in lieu of free food, the relevant allowance will be increased by $100 from not less than $775 to not less than $875 per month, an increase of 12.9 per cent. The new levels of the MAW and the food allowance will apply to all contracts signed on or after tomorrow (September 20).

     The Government spokesman said, "The Government has all along regularly reviewed the MAW for FDHs. In this year's review, after taking carefully into consideration Hong Kong's general economic and employment situation, as reflected through a basket of economic indicators including the relevant income movements, price changes and labour market situation, the Government has decided to make the above-mentioned adjustment."

     The spokesman added, "The Government has also reviewed the food allowance in lieu of free food and decided to raise it to the above-mentioned level, after taking into account the movement in the relevant consumer price index."

     The spokesman stressed that the MAW and food allowance are only a minimum standard, which are set to protect FDHs from exploitation and to protect local workers from competition with low-wage foreign workers. Employers may choose to give FDHs better terms than the MAW and food allowance, depending on their individual situations.

     Contracts signed today or earlier than today with the existing MAW of $3,740 per month and food allowance of not less than $775 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD), provided that the applications reach ImmD on or before October 17, 2012. This arrangement will allow sufficient time for employers to send the signed contracts to ImmD for completion of the necessary application procedures.

Ends/Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30


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