HK domestic workers get wage increase

Filipinos employed as household service workers in Hong Kong have a reason to celebrate as the foreign government approved an increase in the monthly minimum wages.

Hong Kong's Labor department has recently announced its approval of a 4.8-percent hike in monthly minimum allowable wage of foreign household service workers to to HK$3,920 (P20,872) from HK$3,740 (P19,913), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a statement.

Also announced was an accompanying 13-percent increase in the monthly food allowance to HK$875 (P4,658) from the previous HK$775 (P4,126), she added.

Rules in hiring foreign household service workers in Hong Kong require employers to provide free food or food allowance aside from basic pay.

"This is a welcome development for our HSWs because the Hong Kong government has always been protective and considerate in looking after the welfare of expatriate workers,” Baldoz said.

This, as she noted that the Philippines will work closely with Hong Kong for the implementation of the new minimum wages, particularly with regards to its effectivity dates.

The increase was announced after an annual review which "took into consideration Hong Kong’s general economic and employment situation, relevant income movements, price changes and HK labour market situation," she added.

The Labor department meanwhile quoted a statement from its Hong Kong counterpart, which said the minimum wages and food allowance "are only a minimum standard which are set to protect foreign domestic helpers 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 in their individual situations," the statement noted.

The new minimum wage and allowance shall apply to employment contracts starting Sept. 20, 2012. Contracts signed on or before Sept. 19, meanwhile, shall bear the previous rates.

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