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Saturday, 10/25/2014

New basic salary of domestic helpers

POSTED BY pinklet (6 yrs ago)

i need to renew my helper's contract............and i was told by my helper that the new basic salary is HKD 3800 and we do not have to pay the government HKD 400 p/m levy amt any more.is it true or just some kind of rumours doing the rounds among the helpers?

#1 POSTED BY omaharrison (6 yrs ago)

The minimum is hkd3480 and the levy is 400 per month, I doubt they or any government ever ever never will or has cancelled any levy whatsoever without bringing out a new one instead.

#2 POSTED BY bob the builder (6 yrs ago)

If there was a change to the levy and or salary, it would be in the newspapers and on TV for weeks and perhaps months. It would be debated and debated. Until you see this you can be sure there is no change and so, can be assumed to be just a rumour.
You could of course, choose to pay your helper a fair wage for a fair day's work instead of paying just the minimum.

#3 POSTED BY spurs (6 yrs ago)

There were a few articles about this a couple of weeks ago - because the levy had ulifilled its inital purpose and salaries had been cut a few years ago, it was suggested that it should go back to helpers. which, of course, it should.

#4 POSTED BY omaharrison (6 yrs ago)

What is the basic salary In the Phil. for normal people, not top shot lawyer and CEO's?

#5 POSTED BY flashwad (6 yrs ago)

Mid level accountant in Manila at a MNC is 10k to 12k range.

#6 POSTED BY flashwad (6 yrs ago)

USD per year.

#7 POSTED BY bob the builder (6 yrs ago)

Does it really matter what a 'normal person' (whatever that means, omaharrison) gets in their home country. It's what they should get paid working here in HK. I get a lot, lot more than if I worked back in my home country. Would I come here to work for someone in HK and get paid what I could get back in my home country?
Not many would leave their home country to work for the same salary. Even if I was unemployed in my home country, I am still working and living in HK and should be paid as such.

#8 POSTED BY cd (6 yrs ago)

Actually my husband doesn't take home that much more than he would in the UK, we came for the lifestyle change and experience.

#9 POSTED BY omaharrison (6 yrs ago)

Well Bob the builder, it was curiousity that got me to ask that question. when I said "normal people" I meant those who represent the majority of the population and not people like you who earn so much more than in their home country.
I was curious to know why so many people, approx over 7 million, choose to leave their home country and family for such low wages, as a lot of the people on this site keep reminding. It seems that the minimum wage there is around hkd1000 a month according to this article. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/03/business/PESO.php
So basically the minimum wage here for DH is over three times. I hope there is no need to explain the implication of that.

"I get a lot, lot more than if I worked back in my home country. Would I come here to work for someone in HK and get paid what I could get back in my home country?"-- Maybe not, but I would find it very surprising if you would still earn 3 times your salary in UK, come to HK, spend no money on accomodation, food, transportation etc. send/save all the money to your family back to the UK where that money is over 3 times the avarage, and still complain or have such a large lobby of people who represent a minority in HK which keeps on stating that its such a low salary.
That's it, only curiousity.

#10 POSTED BY Woodenhorse (6 yrs ago)

"You could of course, choose to pay your helper a fair wage for a fair day's work instead of paying just the minimum."

I wonder what a "fair wage" would be then?

#11 POSTED BY Digital Blonde (6 yrs ago)

Perhaps it would be what you yourself would expect to be paid if you were to do the exact same work for someone else.

#12 POSTED BY DaHKGKid (6 yrs ago)

I think the question above has been answered. Assure your helper that you are always up to date on these changes and to get her facts straight before making such requests. To be honest, if either one of my helpers asked me this I would look at them sideways for being irresponsible.

#13 POSTED BY Woodenhorse (6 yrs ago)

hmmm... so i guess your answer is equivalent to "however long a piece of string is". I am sure that a worker at 7-11 would give a different answer to someone working as a VP at a bank.

Basically, I see it as basic market forces ... if the pay was too low, then there would not be enough supply of helpers. Too high and then supply would outstrip demand --> namely only a select few will be able to afford to have domestic help.


It *seems* the supply of domestic helpers is outstripping demand from the market (at least I have never heard of anyone having difficulty sourcing a helper - issue of fussy/picky employers notwithstanding) suggests that the minimum rate is still very attractive to those helpers. Note that I am only surmising this from a pure monetary viewpoint.

#14 POSTED BY Digital Blonde (6 yrs ago)

Actually if you do not include subsidies by developed countries to their farmers (a big if) farmers in India China or Vietnam, could earn the same as a farmer in the US or Australia, there is a market price set for agricultural products, which they could charge which is one and the same for all. The fact that they don't is due to largely structural issues with those economies. Agriculture is a very warped industry But I am digressing and being pedantic.

The question asked what was fair to pay someone to be a domestic helper not what the market rate was. fairness is a very ambiguous concept and varies from person to person. Personally I see it the way I see it. If you ask me what is fair, then that would be paying someone the same amount that I would be willing to do the same work for. The fact that there are people willing and able to work for far less is the way the market works, and prices are set accordingly. I don't think that the market prices are the fairest and most equitable way of setting prices, but it is the most efficient and assuming there are reasonable amounts of competition, consumers benefit from lower prices.

10 years ago in Europe, hardly anyone other than the rich would have had domestic helpers and that is probably still largely the case, even with an expanded EU today (at least this is the case in the UK still). That is because the market rate is so high because very few citizens were prepared to do such work or not at an affordable cost to the middle class. What do we do in South East Asia when faced with this problem, we import as much foreign labour as we desire from impoverished countries, give them little or no rights, no recourse if they have monsters as employers, and pay them less than US$ 500 a month, which is less then the going rate for unskilled labour in other industries. The fact that quite a few of these helpers have tertiary education as well and cant get work visas as skilled labour is lost.

I am not disputing the fact that being able to work in Hong Kong, gives these people or their families back home anyway, a better standard of living then they would otherwise get. Does the whole concept seem fair to me. No it doesn't sound very fair to me really. Do I have a maid, yes I do, and she gets paid more than the minimum a month and only does part time, but no where near the wage level that I would need to be paid to do the same work, but I have never argued that life was fair either.


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