Hong Kong increases minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic workers

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 1) — Hong Kong has approved an increase in the minimum allowable wage (MAW) and food allowance of foreign domestic workers, including Filipinos, for contracts signed on Oct. 1.

The special administrative region of China raised the MAW from HK$4,630 to HK$4,730, or more than ₱35,000 per month, which was a 2.2 percent pay hike, according to a statement released on Friday. 

Additionally, the monthly food allowance of foreign domestic helpers will also increase to no less than HK$1,196 — or more than ₱8,900 — if employers opt not to provide free food under the Standard Employment Contract in Hong Kong.

"The Government reviews the MAW for FDHs regularly,” a government spokesperson said. “In accordance with the established practice, we have carefully considered Hong Kong's general economic and labour market conditions over the past year, as well as Hong Kong's near-term economic outlook, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in this year's review.”

Hong Kong’s Immigration department will still process contracts signed before Oct. 1, provided that the employers will send the signed contracts on or before Oct. 28, according to the announcement.

“Best thing nakuha natin 'yung (we got the) increase despite the economic hardship everyone is going through,” Consul General in Hong Kong Raly Tejada told CNN Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, an alliance of Asian migrant organizations including Filipinos, said the new MAW is still a “slave wage level.”

It has been demanding a livable wage of HK$6,014 and food allowance of HK$3,023. 

“For the past two years, our wage has frozen,” the group said on Friday. “Migrant domestic workers (MDW) suffered severely during the pandemic, yet we continue to not receive any support or financial assistance from the HK government.”

“During the time of MDW shortage, employers were able to give higher wage to MDWs; it’s only the HK government that prevented it from happening,” it stressed.

Hong Kong’s labor data show there were 191,783 Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong at the end of 2021.

The number has been dropping since 2020 due to strict COVID-19 protocols, especially to international travelers. 

Recently, Hong Kong imposed new rules wherein incoming travelers will now only be required to undergo three days of monitoring upon arrival.

READ: Hong Kong removes international travel quarantine after more than two years 

CNN Philippines correspondent Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.