PNA file photo

MANILA —  The recent wage increase for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong benefits Filipino house helpers or kasambahays.    
 
"The increase in pay comes after a two-year wage freeze in HK due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) 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," Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
 
Ople said the increase in salary for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong is equivalent to a PHP750 hike if converted to Philippine peso.
 
“Compared to today's minimum wage for local domestic workers that range from a low of PHP3,500 in the Zamboanga Peninsula or PHP5,500 in Central Visayas to a high of PHP6,000 in Metro Manila, a Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong will now earn 4,730 Hong Kong dollars or PHP35,475,” she said.
 
On Sept. 30, the Hong Kong government announced that it is raising its minimum allowable wage (MAW) and food allowance for foreign domestic workers.
 
The wage increase took effect on Oct. 1.
 
Data from the Hong Kong Immigration Department shows there are 188,171 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the city as of August 2022, said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong.
 
The Hong Kong government said this accounts for more than half of the city’s estimated 333,000 migrant domestic workers.
 
The new Hong Kong MAW of 4,730 Hong Kong dollars is 100 Hong Kong dollars more than the previous wage of 4,630 Hong Kong dollars set in September 2019.
 
The new minimum food allowance of 1,196 Hong Kong dollars or equivalent to about PHP8,970 set in September last year is 23 Hong Kong dollars more than the previous minimum food allowance of 1,173 Hong Kong dollars.
 
However, only domestic workers who “live out” or do not live inside their employer’s residence are entitled to the food allowance.
 
In comparison, Ople said a foreign domestic worker in Taiwan earns 20,000 New Taiwan dollars (PHP37,200) while in Singapore, it is 600 Singapore dollars (PHP24,659). (PNA)