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.
Somehow, the Hong Kong government often finds itself in a hole of its own digging. The current contretemps over the suspension of a levy paid by employers of foreign domestic helpers is a classic example.Tuesday, 5 August, 2008, 12:00am
One day before Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was to announce a set of economic relief measures at the Legislative Council on July 16, he gave a briefing to the Executive Council. It took less than 10 minutes.3 Aug 2008 - 12:00am
The letter by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung ('Levy plays key role in retraining', July 30) was unconvincing.2 Aug 2008 - 12:00am
Exco suspends helper fee, lets you gain twice
Employers of foreign domestic helpers can avoid paying the levy on their contracts for up to 47 months by renewing them early, the government acknowledged yesterday.31 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
Groups representing domestic workers have expressed concern about the possibility of a massive layoff near the end of the two-year suspension of the employers' levy, as the Executive Council was poised to discuss the proposed relief measure today.30 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
The controversy surrounding the suspension of the maids' levy for two years has not only exposed the ugly face of many employers of foreign domestic helpers, but also the worst side of our government bureaucracy. The proposal, and the whole inflation relief package, was made with the best intentions. As inflation soars, pressure is piling up on both low-income groups and the middle class.26 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
Clearly, it was not intended this way, but the plan for a two-year suspension of the levy on overseas domestic helpers' employment provides an almost perfect example of government dysfunction and arrogance.25 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
The two-year suspension of the levy on foreign maids will start next month, a month earlier than planned, after the government heeded calls from employers' and workers' groups who said an earlier date was necessary to avoid confusion.22 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
Employers wait for freezing of payment
At least seven foreign domestic helpers have been sacked since the government decided last week to suspend the maids' levy from September, a migrant workers' centre said.
Sari Canete, a project organiser at the Asian Migrant Worker Centre, said those workers had been fired as a result of the levy suspension.21 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
No fee collected by the government is popular. But few have been as controversial as the HK$400-a-month levy imposed nearly five years ago on employers of foreign domestic helpers, which came along with an equivalent cut in maids' minimum pay.19 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
Dismissing helpers too costly, says official
The Immigration Department yesterday dismissed fears that the timing of a two-year suspension of the levy on foreign maids could lead to widespread sacking of helpers.18 Jul 2008 - 12:00am
Maids know their duties and pay before they come to HK
I refer to the letter from Jemma Watkins ('Domestic helpers raise our standard of living', June 8).15 Jun 2008 - 12:00am
With inflation at 5.4 per cent, the highest level in a decade, workers naturally expect their pay to also rise to cover increasing costs. The economy is faring well and companies are generally profiting, so employees feel entitled to a slice of the good times. Civil servants have just been given increases and so, too, should other wage-earners.4 Jun 2008 - 12:00am
Will the authorities ban Mia Farrow?
Let us tell you about Yusuf Islam. Before he became a Muslim he was known as Cat Stevens, the British pop star. His Muslim name got him in trouble in September 2004 when he was denied entry to the US on national security grounds. American officials made it clear they had no obligation to detail their reasons for banning him.30 Apr 2008 - 12:00am
More than half of Hongkongers want the government to scrap the levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers, a survey has found.
Since October 2003, bosses have had to pay a monthly HK$400 levy, the aim being to fund vocational training and retraining for local workers. The initiative has raised HK$4.19 billion so far.25 Apr 2008 - 12:00am