$15,400 pay for helpers in China touted

Top News | Sum Lok-kei 1 Aug 2017

Philippine domestic helpers being hired by households in five mainland cities are supposedly in line for pay three times more than in Hong Kong.

The pay report, in yesterday's Philippine Star, indicated more discussions are going to be held before helpers could be in line for the equivalent of 100,000 pesos (HK$15,400) a month.

The minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong at present is HK$4,310.

Citing the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment, the Star added such hefty pay would only be available in five cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Philippine labor officials have already met with staff of the Chinese embassy in Manila, and a delegation from the mainland will be visiting next month for more talks.

Dominador Say, Philippine undersecretary for labor, said Chinese employers want to hire Filipino domestic workers as they are "peaceful" and fluent in English, which could help Chinese children in their studies.

Cynthia Tellez, general manager of the Mission for Migrant Workers, said higher pay could spur helpers to look beyond Hong Kong.

But she warned that working conditions in China are unclear, and how long it could take to resolve issues was an open question. On that, she pointed to the fact Hong Kong has been employing foreign domestic workers for many years "and there are still problems."

So potential workers should learn more about labor and migrant rights and culture in China before making any decisions, she said.

Teresa Liu Tsui-lan, managing director of Technic Employment Service Centre, said a scheme for foreign helpers to be hired in the mainland was in place last year but is only available to certain people, including workers hired from Hong Kong.

And she doubted pay would be as high as was claimed as foreign domestics in the mainland can presently earn about 6,000 yuan (HK$6,960) a month.

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