Minimum Allowable Wage 2019-2020 & HelperChoice Salary Survey
New Minimum Allowable (MAW) Wage and Food Allowance in Hong-Kong
The Labour Department announced on September 27th, 2019 the annual increase of the minimum allowable Wage, from HK$4,520 to HK$4,630 per month. The Food Allowance, previously of HK$1,075 is now raised to HK$1,121.
These new levels will be effective on September 28th, 2019 and directly applicable to any Standard Employment Contract signed between a foreign domestic helper and an employer on or after said date. Make sure you comply to this rise in minimum salary when renewing your domestic helper's contract or hiring a new helper.
HelperChoice Annual Salary Survey
In parallel for the third consecutive year, HelperChoice has analysed the data of more than 30,000 job ads posted on its platform between July 2018 and July 2019 to determine which areas foreign domestic workers can expect to earn the most and the least. This study was carried out as the Hong Kong Labour Department is expected to announce the foreign domestic workers minimum wage re-evaluation by the end of this month.
For the third consecutive year, HelperChoice’s annual salary survey in Hong Kong shows an encouraging trend. This year, the average salary of a foreign domestic worker is HK$4,945, equalling a 3.05% increase compared to the previous study in 2018, and an 8.80% increase since 2017.
However, we can identify clear disparities in the domestic helpers’ salaries according to their employment location. Following the trends of our previous years’ observations, families living in areas considered as more wealthy offer a higher salary to their helpers.
In 2019, the top five Hong Kong districts with the highest wages were the same as those in 2018: the Southern side, Wan Chai, Central & Western districts, Sai Kung and the Islands. Foreign domestic workers in these districts might expect an average salary of HK$5,148 in these areas, with two employers offering up to HK$10,000 per month.
On the other hand, the five districts offering the lowest salaries in 2019 were: Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan and Kowloon City. Employers in these areas offer an average salary of HK$4,696, which is only HK$176 above the Minimum Allowable Salary (MAW) of HK$4,520.
If we go back in time, we can observe that the Minimum Allowable Salary (MAW) increases, on average, by 2.4% every year and follows the Consumer Price Index (CPI) trend, which evolves at an average rate of 2.5% each year.
This means that foreign domestic workers can still achieve their saving goals (children's education, housing, retirement...) and send remittances without being impacted too much by the increase of consumer goods’ prices.
In Hong Kong it is mandatory for domestic helpers to live with their employers as the domestic helpers’ salary does not include the cost of accommodation, nor food allowance or medical expenses. Considering the housing costs in Hong Kong, this has of course a huge impact on the domestic helpers’ budget and the money they can save or send back home. However, the comfort of the living arrangements plays a significant part of domestic workers’ living conditions.
As the employers can specify the type of accommodation they offer to their domestic workers, HelperChoice also investigated which types of living arrangements are the most common. The survey exposed that a large majority (66%) of job offers included a private room, whereas 22% offered a room shared with a child, 7% a room shared with another domestic worker and 5% a room shared with an adult. It is important to note that domestic helpers cannot sleep in the same room as another adult of the opposite sex.