Should domestic helpers face further pay cut?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:00am


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I disagree with your correspondent Teresa Brewin (South China Morning Post, November 24), who said that domestic helpers should not receive a pay cut.

People tend to look at the low wage they receive and compare it with the volume of work they do during the day and at night.

However, it is important to look at their 'total' income. Apart from their wage, they also get free accommodation and food. The money for these expenses, comes from the pockets of their employers.

In effect, when you look at the total income of foreign domestic helpers they earn more than a cleaner in Hong Kong, who probably gets between $4,000 and $5,000 a month. The helper's working environment is certainly no worse than that of a cleaner who has to clean toilets every day.

In good economic times people, including maids, get pay rises. However, in bad times, pay cuts are common. Why should domestic helpers be excluded? Widespread pay cuts in the SAR have adversely affected family incomes. Middle-income families are the worst hit.

If domestic helpers' salaries cannot be adjusted downwards as well as upwards, many helpers might find themselves being made unemployed.


North Point