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Helper's salary - same as previous contract?

  1. #1
    stilli is offline Registered User
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    Helper's salary - same as previous contract?

    Hi all
    Question regarding salary negotiations for helper. I am totally new at this and new to HK so pardon my ignorance :)

    Our potential helper is currently making 4300HK a month (she has 17 years of exp with excellent references who we have followed up with). Is it the norm to pay the same as the previous employer? We asked what her expectations are and she told us it was up to us. We want to do the right thing but actually feel that 4300 is a bit high for us but dont want to loose her nor do we want to be disrespectful.

    Any insights from your experiences would be most appreciated.

  2. #2
    AndreaY is offline Registered User
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    Since the legal requirement is $3400 and most people pay that, $4300 does seem like a lot. Also, having a good reference and a previous employer liking her is not a guarantee that you will. If she really is worth the $4300, you can always start on basic salary and have salary review after 3 months and increase it if you think right. But if it's stated to be $4300 a month on the contract, that's what you would have to pay her regardless whether she deserves it. On the note of whether you have to pay her the same as previous employer, the answer is no and to tell you the truth, I do not think she can get that amount with a new employer, which is probably the reason why she tells you that you pay her what you want.

  3. #3
    KatBoo is offline Registered User
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    why don't you suggest paying her less...what you feel comfortable with and then suggest a review at some point down the line.

    When we interviewed our helper, she told us that getting the highest salary wasn't her main objective (which is odd seeing as she sends it all home), but a loving nice family to work for. We pay her the same as her previous employer (3400) but once she has been with us for 6m - year will probably increase (or give her a good bonus at birthday / christmas).

    If you start lower you can always increase, but hard to do the reverse.

  4. #4
    Sumei is offline Registered User
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    While the min. salary level is appx. $3400, experienced maids do come at a premium in HK. My helper has been in HK for 10 years and her last drawn was $4000 (3 years ago) and this was confirmed by her previous employer (who I don't think has reason to lie). I know of alot of friends with experienced helpers (who have been here in HK from 10-15 years eg) being paid upwards of $4000 easily with some at $5000. With my helper, becos the govt had just implemented the levy, I agreed to pay her a little less ($3900) with the promise to increase her salary at her next contract. She too told me it was more impt she worked for a caring/reasonable/good/respectful of her employer than a high salary and to date she's been very happy with us. We have since increased her salary and she gets 1/2 a month bonus at xmas and a 1 month bonus at CNY.

    While I do believe salary is at the discretion of the employer to offer, the reality is that they have worked hard here for many years and built up a wealth of knowledge and experience (ie speak the local language, able to run a household quite independently, experienced with young babies/toddlers etc) that resulted in a higher pay - just as we wouldn't like to be underpaid in the workforce, it wouldn't be fair for them to be either. And I also think in the long run, if they are paid too significantly lower than their last drawn, dissatisfaction will slowly creep into the employer/employee r'ship. How you work out an amicable compromise depends on both employer and employee.

    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    mintycat is offline Registered User
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    I agree that you can pay her the minimum and agree to have a review after 3 months. My maid gets CNY and Christmas bonuses too and we increased her salary after a few months into her contract.

  6. #6
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    I think you need to pay her a bit more than the minimum. She has a lot of experience from the sound of things and in a normal job that would be rewarded with higher pay. Why not start at or just under $4000? Alternatively start at $3400 but say you will give bonuses for good work each month or quarter. That way everyone is happy.

  7. #7
    stilli is offline Registered User
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    Helper's Salary

    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and suggestions. We will pay her more than the minimum given her 17 years of exp but will not match her current salary at this time. I like the idea of review after several months and making an increase from there if deemed appropriate. Also appreciate the input on bonuses at certain holidays.

    Although I had many concerns at just the thought of a live-in helper, I have to say it feels right with this one individual - and the great references help.

    Being a newbie is never easy - this forum has been a great help to us getting started. Look forward to being able to share insight with others some day. Cheers!

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