Salary of domestic helper in Hong Kong 2022: Your Guide

Aubrey Yung

Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDH) in Hong Kong are protected by minimum allowable wage legislation, and have the right to free accommodation at the employer’s address, food - or a food allowance - and medical care.

The set levels for minimum wage and food allowance are reviewed annually - this guide will cover the minimum allowable FDH wage for 2022, which was announced on 30 September 2021. We’ll also touch on how you could save money when remitting money home to loved ones, with Wise international payments. More on that later.

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How much is the salary of a domestic helper in Hong Kong?

Foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong are protected by minimum wage requirements - but of course, employers can - and do - choose to offer above the minimum required level. Salaries are set by the employer, and can take into account experience and special skills. As well as a salary, FDH employers must provide food, accommodation and medical care. We’ll cover the legal requirements for food, or food allowances, in a little more detail later.

A recent report found that average levels of advertised FHD salaries in 2021 hit 5,144 HKD/month.¹ Typical FDH salaries in some districts are higher than this - with salaries in Central and Western coming in at 5,451 HKD, and Southern salaries just lagging a little at 5,448 HKD. This is the 5th consecutive year that average FDH salaries have risen, with the impact of the global pandemic meaning that new FDH candidates may have been struggling to get into the country, causing an increase in demand versus supply.

What is the minimum wage for domestic helpers?

The minimum allowable wage for domestic helpers is set at 4,630 HKD/month. This figure was set originally in 2019 and remained the same following the September 2021 review, which came into effect on 1 October 2021.

If you’re unsure about the way minimum wages for domestic helpers work, you can get the full review announcement on the Hong Kong government website.² You can also find more details on your employment rights as a Foreign Domestic Helper, on the Labour department website, in a range of languages.³

Food allowance for domestic helper

It’s a legal requirement for employers to provide either food or a food allowance to FDH workers. In the recent review of minimum FDH salaries, the food allowance was adjusted to a minimum of 1,173 HKD/month, on top of the regular salary being paid.

Do domestic helpers pay tax in Hong Kong?

The basic tax allowance for Hong Kong is currently set at 132,000 HKD a year, or 11,000 HKD a month. In addition there are various deductions which can be made from income to reflect costs like self-education, insurance and charitable deductions.⁴ That means that only workers earning in excess of 11,000 HKD a month after deductions need to have their income reported to the tax authorities and then assessed for income tax.⁵

If you earn above 11,000 HKD/month, tax is payable based on a sliding scale, meaning the more you earn, the higher the overall tax will be. If you have any concerns about tax in Hong Kong, seek professional advice and check out the guidance on the Inland Revenue Department website.

If you’re remitting money home, or need to send international transfers for any reason, you could cut the costs with Wise international payments.

Cross-border transfers with Wise are set up online or using your smartphone, and sent conveniently from your bank account or card to your recipient. You’ll always get the real mid-market exchange rate with just a low, transparent fee to pay - which can mean you save significantly compared to using your regular bank or an alternative money transmitter. See how much you can save with Wise today.


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Sources used in this article:

1 Helper Choice: HelperChoice Annual Foreign Domestic Workers Salary Survey - 2021
2 Hong Kong Government: Minimum Allowable Wage and food allowance for foreign domestic helpers
3 Labour Department: Foreign Domestic Helper Corner
4 Inland Revenue Department: Salaries Tax / Personal Assessment
5 Inland Revenue Department: Q & A for "e-Seminar for Employers

Sources last checked on 4-Nov-2021

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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