I think at the moment it's far from certain that the government will include FDHs in the minimum wage! In one or two indications from the Labour Advisory Board, they've basically sided with the employer's representative, who has said that the helpers would become very expensive - $12,000 per month - calculating, of course, for 16 hours work per day which they apparently find reasonable. The point is to scare people away from supporting FDWs coming under the HK minimum wage.
The fact is, even for low wage workers like in KFC or McDonalds, the wage would drastically increase. It would go from about $20/ hour to $33/hour (possibly). Naturally employers don't like it but the whole point is to set a wage such that people working full time can meet their living expenses in Hong Kong and have a decent life.
beancurd has mentioned the difficulty of raising the monthly FDW wage by $200. That's true. But that was when there was no other minimum wage. And the FDW wage applied to 'only FDWs' who have no voting rights and are practically second class citizens. Now the government is seriously suggesting 1) to have a minimum wage - which MEANS acknowledging the need for a wage floor, to limit working poverty; and yet 2) that female migrant workers who come to do domestic work SHOULD NOT EVEN GET this minimum which they already recognized for Hong Kong people. There is no way around the fact that it's outright discrimination and exploitation.
The reluctance to agree to FDWs under the HK minimum wage is, I am pretty sure, linked to reluctance to clearly define working hours of the helpers. Hong Kong people are accustomed to treating their helpers as absolute servants six days a week, with employers having total control over their helpers' time, food intake, socializing, rest, everything....
By the way, I doubt that HK people are going to choose to stay home to work because their helpers's salary went up by $1,000 or $1,200. First of all, there is a minimum salary of an employer, in order to be able to hire, I think it is $15,000. If you have below that amount of income, you won't be hiring a FDW. Now if you have two people with that salary, and have hired one helper for $3,580, it is doubtful (and obviously not economically sensible) that you will forgo $15,000 income because your helper salary went up by $1,200.
The government and employers' argument of $12,000 or $9,000 per month is disingenuous, esp. because first of all it does not calculate the assumed costs of live-in, and also because it assumes exaggerated working hours. If a worker is given reasonable working hours, the employer can pay reasonably; if you demand 12 hour working days, you should pay 12 hours worth. That is not the case now!! For the same flat monthly amount, an employer can force the worker to work anywhere between 8 and 22 hours per day. In effect, the current wage system as applied to FDWs, PUNISHES employers who are 'stupid' enough to get only 8 hours of work out of their helpers, and REWARDS (??) employers who are 'clever' enough to extract maximum hours and labour out of their helper 6 (and often in practice 7) days per week. An hourly wage, with implicit limit to working hours (from the clear price put on each hour of labour) would have the effect of deterring such abuse of workers. But the extraordinarily huge control employers have over their helpers is not a luxury they would easily give up. So there will be some battle over this, and I only hope that employers and any people who believe discrimination is wrong, will be able to express it in public and help tip opinion against keeping FDWs out of the HK minimum wage.