Ashley Joey Leung, 17, St Margaret’s Girls’ College, Hong Kong
Giving foreign domestic helpers a decent salary is very important. It is one way of recognising how important they are to your family. It can’t be easy for them to leave their own families and come to another country to earn money. They only get one day off every week, and they do all the household chores. They are not paid hourly, so they may work more than they should, especially if they have a child or an elderly person to take care of. They also have to get used to the city’s culture, which could be completely different from their own. Foreign domestic helpers are like superheroes – what they do is not easy! Their present salary is not enough. They deserve a raise.
Anna Li, 13, Hong Kong and Kowloon Chiu Chow Public Association Secondary School
I don’t think so. Foreign domestic helpers are already given free meals and a place to live. Their employers sacrifice their own privacy and share their space with a stranger. If their salary is increased, many Hongkongers would not be able to hire them.
Chun Yuen-ting, 17, Yuen Long Merchants’ Association Secondary School
Definitely! It is such a shame that domestic helpers have to leave their homes to “bring home the bacon” – in other words, to earn money to help their families. As long as they work hard and honour their contract, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paid more than HK$4,520 per month. What’s more, families who hire a domestic helper usually earn a high income. Giving their helper more money would not pose too many problems for them.
Barry Reiser Lau Ho-yin, 15, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School
Yes. They have many reasons for working overseas, the most obvious being that they want to help their families by earning more money than they can in their home country. This means they leave their own families to take care of ours. This is why we should give them a salary that is at least closer to that of the current market rate.
Henry Chow Ka-hang, 13, King Ling College
No. There are many Hongkongers who are also working for very little money. They leave their children at home or with some of their relatives while they work. They also have to pay for daily necessities, and save money for the future as well. In addition, most Hong Kong families cannot afford to pay more than HK$4,520 for a domestic helper. In places like Indonesia and the Philippines, that’s a lot of money. If you think about it, keeping the salary at the current rate means more Hongkongers would be able to hire helpers. This would help them and their families back home.
Virginia Wong, 16, Carmel Secondary School
Yes. Increasing their salaries is a way of recognising their hard work.
Some may think being a domestic helper is easy, but it's not. There are all those little things they do to keep our homes clean and tiny that makes our lives better, they take good care of young children, making it easier for both parents to have full-time jobs, and they do all this with their own families back home overseas. They also have to send their salary back home to support their families. Increasing their salaries will allow them to either send more money back home, or spend more on themselves to have a better quality of life here.
Karen Ho Ka-man, 16, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School
I think foreign domestic helpers should be paid more than HK$4,520 per month. Many parents of children in Hong Kong work, and many often do not finish work before school ends, and they can’t pick up their children from school. However, quitting their jobs to take care of their children may not be an option for many parents who need an income to support the family. If we pay helpers more money, then more will want to come to work in Hong Kong, and more Hong Kong parents can work and earn more money, knowing someone will be there to care for their children while they're at work.
Matthew Lin Kai-him, 17, Law Ting Pong Secondary School
Absolutely! Foreign domestic helpers leave their homes, sacrificing their own time with their families to help ours. They do a lot of household work, and sometimes more than they are getting paid for. In Hong Kong, we support everyone’s rights. The city’s statutory minimum wage for employees form Hong Kong is HK$34.50. If we assume that a domestic helper is working 18 hours a day, for six days a week, that is a total of HK$14,904 per month; HK$4,520 is nowhere near that!
Hana Chan, 15, Hong Kong And Kowloon Chiu Chow Public Association Secondary School
Yes. Foreign domestic helpers work long hours every day, and every Sunday we see them gather on the streets, even when it’s super hot. I believe their wages aren’t enough to cover their expenses, which is why they can’t afford to meet anywhere else! The government should raise their salaries so that they can live a better life!
In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:
Should Hong Kong become a cashless society?
We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to firstname.lastname@example.org by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.