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VI. Minimum allowable wage

Every foreign domestic helper is entitled to a monthly salary not less than the minimum allowable wage, which is currently HK$4,210 per month. Clause 5 of the standard Employment Contract expressly provides that “An employer who fails to pay the wages due under this employment contract shall be liable to criminal prosecution.”

Even if a foreign domestic helper agrees to accept a lower wage, an employer cannot pay anything less than the minimum allowable wage. Under section 63C of the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57), an employer who pays less than the minimum allowable wage is liable, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of HK$350,000 and three years’ imprisonment. Since the employer would have contracted under the standard Employment Contract to pay at least the minimum allowable wage, failure to comply with the Employment Contract could lead to false representation to an Immigration Officer, which carries a maximum fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years (section 42 of the Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115). If the employer and the helper agree to a lower wage, by virtue of common law and the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) both of them may be conspiring to defraud and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

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