Your domestic helper has been with you for a while and you may wonder if you should increase her salary or give her a bonus. What do other employers do?
There is no golden rule or a standard practice when it comes to giving your domestic helper a bonus or increasing her wage. But don’t pull your hair out yet, we went out and asked what others do.
When should I give my domestic helper a bonus or salary increase?
There is absolutely no consensus on this, but many employers consider this question for the first time after six months of employment. And indeed, employers feel it is a “personal decision based on your family’s financial means and also on your domestic helper’s performance.” Needless to say, it is your decision and no one can decide for you what to do. However, it is important to manage your domestic helper’s expectations. Let her know that she shouldn’t expect to get something every six months if this is not feasible, but that you are doing this based on how things are going at this particular moment.
Should I give my domestic helper a bonus or a salary increase?
It is always tricky when you are an employer and deciding whether or not to increase the salary of your employee. When you are managing your domestic helper, this question may be even more challenging. Most domestic helpers only get paid the minimum wage, even if they have years of experience. It is completely up to you what you do, but the general practice in Hong Kong is towards giving a bonus or something extra rather than increasing the salary regularly. When you are at the end of the first year or at two years and renewing her contract, you should consider giving her an increase especially if you can afford it and if her performance justifies it.
I would love to give my domestic helper a bonus, but how much do I give?
This depends entirely on you and your income. There is no industry standard for a salary increase or a bonus. Some employers will give a whole month’s salary as a bonus whereas others prefer to give a gift card. It will be entirely up to you, but do think about your domestic helper and her preferences. If she is not into healthcare products, it is better not to give her a spa day. Wherever possible, show gratitude for the hard work she has been doing for you. So if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you could give her a coupon to go get a manicure with a friend.
A word on bonuses for Christmas, Chinese New Year and other special days
Most employers give something to their domestic helpers for Christmas, Chinese New Year, Ramadan or other special days. The same goes here: you decide. However, do keep in mind that most employers will give their domestic helpers something, so most domestic helpers will indeed expect something. Again, it doesn’t have to be money or a very expensive gift. To many domestic helpers, the thought of being appreciated is very important.