Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong | South China Morning Post
  • Fri
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • Updated: 7:16pm
Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Foreign domestic workers make up around 3 per cent of the Hong Kong population. In 2013, there were some 320,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, of which 50 per cent were from the Philippines, 47 per cent from Indonesia, and the rest from Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hong Kong law states that such workers must reside with their employers. Their wages are subject to a statutory minimum of HK$4,010 per month from September 30 last year. There have been several high-profile court cases in which domestic workers have alleged torture and abuse at the hands of their employers. According to a 2013 report by Amnesty International, Indonesian migrant domestic workers are at risk of serious human and labour rights violations in Hong Kong.

Two-week rule for helpers could be exacerbating cases of abuse

I refer to the report 'UN calls for rule on helpers to be scrapped', (August 29). I would like to ask the chief executive for a public explanation of the rule 'that requires domestic helpers to leave the city within two weeks upon termination of their contract'.

Friday, 4 September, 2009, 12:00am

Helpers' food allowance doubled

The government's decision to freeze the minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers but raise their food allowance has received praise from employers but criticism from some workers.

The government announced yesterday that the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong would remain at HK$3,580 per month.

3 Sep 2009 - 12:00am

Domestic helpers may be worse off under minimum wage legislation

It is no surprise foreign domestic helpers excluded from the proposed minimum wage law have threatened legal action, claiming racial discrimination. But is there really a racial dimension or has the fundamental basis of overseas contract recruitment been forgotten?

19 Jul 2009 - 12:00am

Domestic helpers contribute to their employers' prosperity

I agree with Jane Ma's comments ('Rosy picture of helpers' lives is far removed from reality', May 19) on Helen Seeh's negative views on domestic helpers in Hong Kong ('Foreign domestic helpers have very good deal in Hong Kong', May 9).

The laws and regulations are there but it tends to be the employers who bend the rules rather than the helpers.

25 May 2009 - 12:00am

It is employers of domestic helpers who need protection

Maybe Jane Ma has not tried to employ a Filipino domestic helper recently ('Rosy picture of helpers' lives is far removed from reality', May 19). Well I have and believe me it is more like the domestic helpers comes to your house to give you an interview and not the other way around.

23 May 2009 - 12:00am

Rosy picture of helpers' lives is far removed from reality

Helen Seeh states that, given the legal protection in place for foreign domestic workers, she cannot see how employers can take advantage of helpers ('Foreign domestic helpers have very good deal in Hong Kong', May 9).

19 May 2009 - 12:00am

Many employers in HK still take advantage of domestic helpers

I feel compelled to respond to the letter by Cynthia Sze ('Helper's treated well by most employers', April 18).

2 May 2009 - 12:00am

Plight of many foreign domestic helpers goes largely unnoticed

It is clear from Cynthia Sze's letter ('Helpers treated well by most employers', April 18) that Elsie Tu ('Domestic helper policies are institutionalised discrimination', April 13) raises sensitive issues.

25 Apr 2009 - 12:00am

Words of warning: mind your language

If there is ever a lesson to be learned from the war of words, created by HK Magazine columnist Chip Tsao, it is: never underestimate the power of words. In his intended satirical portrayal of the arrogant attitude of employers of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, Tsao hit a raw nerve with the Filipino community here and abroad with his reckless usage of language.

4 Apr 2009 - 12:00am

What you need to know

Can an employer who hires a foreign domestic helper this month enjoy levy suspension?

Yes. The relief measure granting a two-year levy suspension became effective in August this year. The latest proposal has no effect on the measure.

Can employers get money back under the proposed five-year levy suspension if they have already paid the levy?

12 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Homes with foreign help could get 7 levy-free years

Employers of foreign domestic helpers may have a seven-year levy holiday now that the government has proposed extending the two-year levy suspension to cover contracts signed in 2013, in recognition of the challenges posed by the economic downturn.

12 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Maid levy opponents warn off minister

Leave Basic Law out of debate: Regina Ip

The labour chief was warned yesterday not to 'drop constitutional bombs' over the maid levy just so the government could have its way.

7 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Regina Ip gets legal backing in her bid to scrap the maid levy

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has won legal backing in her attempt to scrap the controversial levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers.

The Legislative Council subcommittee discussing a government amendment to suspend the HK$400-a-month levy for two years will hold final discussions tomorrow, and Mrs Ip has to submit her proposed amendment by November 17.

5 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Mixed views on levy

Seven associations yesterday urged the government to scrap the HK$400 a month levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers, calling it unfair.

But five other associations said the government should consider the interests of the workforce before giving in to demands to abolish the levy.

2 Nov 2008 - 12:00am

Means test makes long-term sense, argues welfare boss

The proposal to introduce a means test for old age allowance applicants was a responsible one despite being unpopular, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said yesterday.

18 Oct 2008 - 12:00am