Survey about Domestic Helpers’ rewards in Asia

HelperChoice conducted a survey over one week beginning of September among domestic workers in Asia. Migrant domestic workers were asked to answer several questions about the rewards they receive.

89% of the respondents received at least one kind of reward over the last year and more than half of them receive rewards several times a year. About a third of the migrant domestic workers receive a reward once a year. But the most striking is that more than 1 out of 5 helpers spontaneously say that her best reward is to have a good relationship with their employer: “Material things cannot substitute the way [my employer] treats me as being part of her family. If we are sincere and true and have passion inside our heart then our employer will feel that and it’s worth it.” an anonymous migrant worker says. Another helper in Hong Kong really values the fact that their employers can put themselves in her place.


Usually migrant domestic workers in Asia receive rewards for their birthday or the Chinese New Year but 40% reported that they received rewards for Christmas. A few migrant workers reported to get rewards for some other religious festivities like Depavali or Hijra, but also when the domestic worker ends her contract or go for holidays. Some of the migrant workers are very humble “Having enough rest and on time eating meals is more than enough as a reward for me.”


80% of the interviewed helpers mentioned that they received a bonus in cash with a quarter of them receiving less than USD13 and 28% receiving more than USD129. Among other rewards, 40% of migrant workers say that they benefit from additional holidays, flight tickets to go back home and/or from some clothes, shoes or jewellery. Nevertheless, the most touching reward was reported by a Singaporean domestic helper whose employer pay for the education of her children (her oldest daughter who finished her studies and her second child who is currently in College). A helper also reported that her Chinese employer paid for her hospital bill in the Philippines and another reported that her employer paid for a 2-day trip!


Most migrant workers highlighted that rewards play a role in their motivation, but also say that one should be thankful for whatever one may receive from one’s employer, be it big or small. They also recommend each other to work hard in order to get rewards and be acknowledged as a member of the family.

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