Helpers' average pay rises amid travel curbs

Top News | Maisy Mok 23 Sep 2021

The average salary of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong has reached HK$5,144 a month - up 2.6 percent from a year ago mainly due to pandemic travel restrictions.

In an annual salary survey for domestic workers in Hong Kong, HelperChoice found that their pay has been increasing amid fewer helpers available in the city.

"Many families offer higher salaries to secure a profile already based in Hong Kong, therefore avoiding extra time and costs related to the pandemic, such as paying for quarantine," said Mahee Leclerc, general manager of HelperChoice, an online service platform connecting domestic workers to employers in Asia.

HelperChoice analyzed more than 10,000 job ads posted between September last year and this month and found that the average salary is HK$514 more than the minimum allowable wage of HK$4,630 for helpers.

This comes as the government gives its annual update on the minimum allowable wage tomorrow.

HelperChoice said the average requested salary is HK$5,568, but there is "a clear disparity" in their wages according to their employment location.

The highest average pay is in Central and Western district - HK$5,451. Kwai Tsing district offers the lowest average salary of HK$4,813. Those who work in the other top districts expect an average pay of HK$5,318.

HelperChoice said that several employers even offered to pay between HK$10,000 and HK$20,000 a month.

Before the survey was released, employment agencies had criticized the insufficient quarantine facilities for helpers.

Designated quarantine facilities for helpers in Penny's Bay and the Silka Tsuen Wan hotel are fully booked for this month.

Penny's Bay's booking system has stopped accepting bookings since last Sunday.

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