Starting October 1, 2016, the government of Hong Kong implemented an increase in the minimum wage for all domestic helpers who sign their contracts (new or renewal) on that day, onwards. From HK$4,210 (Php26,100), the minimum wage was increased to HK$4,310 (Php26,700) per month – a 2.4% increase.
There was also a 4.2% increase for their food allowance; domestic workers will now get HK$1,037 (Php6,400) per month for food.
“We have carefully considered Hong Kong’s general economic and labour market situations over the last year, as reflected through a basket of economic indicators, including the relevant income movement and price change, in this year’s review,” a spokesman for the government said.
“The government had taken into account Hong Kong’s near-term economic outlook, as well as the need to strike a balance between affordability for employers on the one hand and the livelihood of foreign domestic workers on the other.”
While the Minimum Wage Commission believes that the increase was fair and balanced for both the employees and the employers, many of the domestic workers are complaining that it is too small and not enough.
Asian Migrants Coordinating Body spokeswoman Dolores Balladares said, “That’s very far from what we were expecting, especially considering that our demand was reasonable. We are not happy and we wonder how the government came up with those figures… This is not a livable wage in Hong Kong. It’s not enough.”
They had pushed for the minimum wage to be at least HK$5,000 (Php31,000) and the food allowance to be at least HK$1,600 (Php9,900).