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

     The Government announced today (September 30) that the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong will be increased by 2.4 per cent, from $4,110 to $4,210 per month.

     Under the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs, employers are required to provide FDHs with food free of charge (free food). At present, the vast majority of employers provide free food to FDHs. Employers may, however, choose to pay a food allowance in lieu.

     If employers choose to pay a food allowance to FDHs, the allowance will be increased by $31 (or 3.2 per cent) from not less than $964 to not less than $995 per month. The new levels of the MAW and food allowance will apply to all FDH contracts signed on or after tomorrow (October 1).

     A Government spokesman said, "The Government reviews the MAW for FDHs regularly. In accordance with the established practice, we have carefully considered Hong Kong's general economic and labour market situations over the last year, as reflected through a basket of economic indicators, including the relevant income movement and price change in this year's review.

     "Moreover, the Government has taken into account Hong Kong's future economic outlook in the near-term, as well as the need to strike a balance between affordability for employers on one hand and the livelihood of FDHs on the other in reaching the decision on the above-mentioned adjustment."

     The spokesman added, "The Government has also reviewed the food allowance in lieu of free food and decided to make an increase, having regard to the movement in the relevant consumer price index."

     The MAW and food allowance are set to protect FDHs from excessively low wages and protect local domestic workers from competition with FDHs. Employers may choose to provide FDHs terms better than the MAW and food allowance, depending on their individual circumstances.

     FDH contracts signed today or earlier at the existing MAW of $4,110 per month and food allowance of not less than $964 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) provided that the applications reach ImmD on or before October 28 (Wednesday). This arrangement will give employers sufficient time to send the signed contracts to ImmD for completion of the necessary application procedures.

Ends/Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:01


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