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The wage for domestic helper in other areas – why HK pay so little?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018

The situation of domestic helper in HK is a stain on Hong Kong's reputation as a global city, thelow salary compare to other developed areas is one of the factors. It may be a good choice to see what other areas has done to protect their domestic worker and see what HK can learn from.

The wage in HK

Recently, the HK government raise the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) by 2.5 per cent, from $4,410 to $4,520 per month[1]. The range salary is from HK $4,500 to HK $6,000[2]. But if we compare to the Statutory Minimum Wage – $34.5 per hour[3], we can easily calculated the wage per month:

Calculated by the author

The number is so difference since most FDWs work more than 12 hours per day, and they should earn almost $10,000 if they are normal people, which is the basic wage for their living.

The wage in other areas

Some people may argue that FDHs live and eat at the employer’s house, so the salary should be difference. So maybe we can compare to other Asia areas:

Chart by KL Home Care Limited

It turns out that most developed areas pay more to domestic helper, like Mainland[4], Taiwan and Japan. What’s more, the FDHs in Canada work 6 hours per day with a minimum salary $11,560.

The Benefit for paying more

Domestic helper need money for their family, and for themselves. Paying more wages means a better employer-employee relationship, and it can make HK a better attractive place for FDWs.

HK’s economic future depends on ethical access to migrant workers – the dual income family, the population ageing situation. However, since the international competition for FDWs, especially when the Indonesia government refusing to offer more FDWs[5], the availability of helpers in HK is gradually falling because of the unattractive wage rates being offered[6].


Domestic helper is important for HK. If we cannot offer better salary with better working environment for a stable supply of quality workers, HK’s economy is going to crumble.

[1] Minimum Allowable Wage and food allowance for foreign domestic helpers to increase, HKSAR, Press Release


[3] Minimum Wage Ordinance, Cap.608




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