How much does it cost to hire a domestic helper?
Hiring a foreign domestic helper could be expensive. Hong Kongers lead incredibly busy lives. So, despite this, many families turn to domestic helpers to assist with their household chores. Did you know that you need to meet three requirements before you could hire one? These are your family income, and whether you are able to provide employee benefits and a maid insurance plan. When combined, this could be a huge expenditure.
Today, our team at Kwiksure breaks down just how much you need to hire a maid.
List of expenses for hiring a foreign domestic helper
Employer’s income must be at least $15,000
The Immigration Department of Hong Kong requires that all potential employers provide proof that their family income is at least $15,000. This is to prevent families who have insufficient or unstable income to hire maids, but unable to pay their salary.
Domestic helpers enjoy statutory holiday leave, board and lodging
You need to provide 12 days of statutory holidays leave and at least 1 additional rest day per week as an employer. This is according to the Labour Department’s “Standard Employment Contract and Terms of Employment for Helpers”. You also need to provide free meals or at least $1,121 worth of meal allowance and free lodging. For more information, you can check out the Labour Department’s Practical Guide For Employment of Foreign Domestic Helpers.
In 2019, the government has raised foreign domestic helpers’ Minimum Allowable Wage to $4,630. After this adjustment, the monthly expenses for hiring a maid averages $5,926.
Traveling back to their home country
You must pay for your helper’s flight tickets besides her base salary and meal allowances. Depending on where your helper is from, this cost averages around $3,000. This includes the cost of her return ticket after your helper completes her contract and returns to her country. It also includes the two days’ worth of transportation fees she will have incurred when she arrives in and leaves Hong Kong (i.e. $100 per day, so it totals to $200 for two days).
All employers must buy a maid insurance plan and provide free healthcare to their maid according to the law. In other words, you must be responsible for your helper’s medical costs after you hire her. Of course, a smart employer will go for an insurance plan that includes healthcare and outpatient benefits to hedge against risks.
Comprehensive maid insurance, on the other hand, is even better. Aside from meeting the basic legal requirements, it protects the employer and their domestic helper against liabilities. Furthermore, this plan protects you from losses that have resulted from dishonest acts, such as theft or being swindled by your helper.
Has your helper been working for your family for a long time? Consider topping up your plan with additional coverage for chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke, etc. This way, you can provide her with even more protection.
Lastly, the cost of the maid insurance plan is based on where your helper is from, the insurance period, nature of the work, and whether you have purchased the optional benefits. Depending on the coverage area, the premium for a two-year comprehensive maid insurance plan ranges from $550 to over $1,300. Just like buying other types of insurance, in addition to premiums, when choosing a maid insurance plan, you need to pay attention to details. Examples of these details include: claim limits, exclusions, and deductibles.
Here is an example of how much it costs to hire your helper if she has her meals at home. As a result, this expense isn’t included in the meal allowance.
Maid hiring center costs
Are you planning to hire a domestic helper through an employment center? Note that the center will generally charge you a fee ranging from $7,500 to $14,000. This already includes the price of a one-way plane ticket to Hong Kong. We recommend visiting a reputable maid hiring center, so you won’t incur any hidden fees from the intermediary company. Also, remember to ask your employment center to explain each fee as clearly as possible before you make your final decision.
According to Hong Kong’s labor laws, your helper could enjoy 10 weeks of paid maternity leave if she has been working for you for 40 weeks, and she got pregnant. During this period, her daily wage is four-fifths of her regular wage.
If you hired a male domestic helper and his partner got pregnant, and he has also been working for you for at least 40 weeks, then he could enjoy 5 days of paid paternity leave.
Coronavirus’s impact on hiring foreign domestic helpers
These days, many domestic helpers are restricted from entering Hong Kong because of safety concerns for the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, employers can only hire those who have already completed their contracts and are already in Hong Kong. This high-demand-and-low-supply situation causes the helpers’ salary to inflate. Moreover, they tend to have additional demands as well, such as requiring an individual room or a comprehensive insurance plan.
So, providing a comprehensive maid insurance plan could help you find the right domestic helper faster. Rather than asking for quotes from every insurance company, you should find a reputable insurance broker like Kwiksure to do it for you.
Aside from maid insurance, Kwiksure also provides motor insurance (third-party and comprehensive), motorcycle insurance, VHIS, and more! Get an instant, obligation-free quote today. If you want to chat with us, you can contact our expert insurance advisors. We can give you unbiased advice to help you decide on the right plan!