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Filipino domestic workers in Central

The Hong Kong government has increased the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) by $110 starting tomorrow (September 28).

In a statement, the government said the MAW will be increased by 2.4 per cent, from $4,520 to $4,630 per month and this will apply to all FDH contracts signed on or after tomorrow.

“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,” a government spokesman said.

“The Government has also taken into account Hong Kong’s near-term economic outlook, as well as affordability for employers on one hand and the interest of FDHs on the other, in reaching the decision on the above-mentioned adjustment,” he added.

The spokesman said the government also reviewed the food allowance in lieu of free food and decided to increase the allowance level.

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 $46 (or 4.3 per cent) from not less than $1,075 to not less than $1,121 per month.

“FDH contracts signed today or earlier at the existing MAW of $4,520 per month and with food allowance of not less than $1,075 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) provided that the applications reach ImmD on or before Oct. 25.

This arrangement will give employers sufficient time to send the signed contracts to ImmD for completion of the necessary application procedures, the government said.