Foreign domestic workers are helping to release mothers in Hong Kong to return to the workforce. Photo: Asia Times.

Minimum wage for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong will be increased by 2.3% to HK$4,410 (US$564.6 / 28,725 Philippine Peso / 7.6 million Indonesian Rupiah) from HK$4,310 per month, according to a statement on the government’s website.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong’s inflation rate for 2016 was 2.3%, compared with 2.5% in 2015.

The food allowance for domestic workers will be increased by HK$16 (or 1.5%) from not less than HK$1,037 to not less than HK$1,053 per month. At present, the vast majority of employers provide free food to domestic workers, instead of paying a food allowance.

The new levels of the minimum wage and food allowance will apply to all foreign domestic workers contracts signed on or after Saturday.

The government said it reviews the minimum wage for foreign domestic workers regularly. It said it has taken into account Hong Kong’s near-term economic outlook, as well as affordability for employers on the one hand and the livelihood of foreign domestic workers on the other, in reaching the decision on the above-mentioned adjustment.

“We have carefully considered Hong Kong’s general economic and labour market conditions over the past year, as reflected through a basket of economic indicators, including the relevant income movement and price change in this year’s review,” a government spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body proposed a 27.6% pay rise for the minimum allowed wage to HK$5,500 a month and lifting the food allowance from HK$1,037 to HK$2,500.

Read: Migrant worker group calling for increased pay for maids

Minimum wages for foreign domestic workers is NT$17,000 (US$559.9) in Taiwan and S$570 (US$420) in Singapore.

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