Wage hike in HK a boon for OFWs

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople cited the equivalent of a P750-wage hike in Hong Kong as a boon for Filipino domestic workers, making it one of the most attractive places to work as a “kasambahay.”

Compared to today’s minimum wage for local domestic workers that range from a low of P3,500 in the Zamboanga Peninsula or P5,500 in Central Visayas to a high of P6,000 in Metro Manila, a Filipino domestic worker in Hongkong will now earn HK$4,730 or P35,475.

The Hong Kong government announced Friday, September 30, that it is raising the Minimum Allowable Wage, or MAW, and food allowance for foreign domestic workers which takes effect October 1st.

The new Hong Kong MAW of HK$4,730 (P35,475) is HK$100 more than the previous wage of HK$4,630 (P34,725) set in September 2019. Meantime, the new minimum food allowance of HK$1,196 (P8,970) set in September last year is HK$23 more than the previous minimum food allowance of HK$1,173 (P8,797). The food allowance, however, is given only to domestic workers who “live out” or outside of their employer’s residence.

In comparison, a foreign domestic worker in Taiwan earns NT$20,000 (P37,200) and in Singapore SGD600 (P24,659).

The increase in pay comes after a two-year wage freeze in HK due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At this time of rising prices due to a stronger US dollar, this new minimum wage hike is a boon to our kasambahays in HK,” Ople said.

Meantime, the new wage order drew positive reactions from Filipino community leaders. Arthur Buban, Founder Chairman of the Bicol Migrants HK Association said, “sa panahon ng pandemic ay kailangan natin tanggapin kung ano ang ibinigay ng Hongkong Government tungkol sa salary at kailangan din unawain ang ating employer sa panahon na naapektuhan ng kanilang negosyo. Kaya kailangan natin magpasalamat sa kanila na kahit tumaas ng kaunti ay malaking bagay ito sa ating lahat.

On the other hand, OFW Marites Nuval of the La Union Federation of Hongkong says, “malaking bagay po na nataasan muli ang Minimum Wage at Food Allowance ng foreign domestic worker. Sa panahon ng pandemya 2-taon po na walang dagdag ang sahod dahilan po sa pandemya sa buong mundo na naging dahilan na maapektuhan ang mga negosyo, turismo at iba pang bansa.”

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hongkong (POLO-HK) citing data from the Hongkong Immigration Department reports there are 188,171 OFWs in the city as of end August 2022 accounting for more than half of the city’s estimated 333,000 migrant domestic worker labor force.

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