Payment & Deduction of Wages
Please note that the information below is provided by the Hong Kong Labour Department.
As both Employer and Helper
1. Can an employer deduct the helpers wages to compensate for damages to goods caused by him/her? What other items may an employer deduct from the helpers wages?
2. What are the consequences if an employer fails to pay wages to the helper on time?
3. Can I agree with my helper to pay lesser amount of wages than that stipulated in the employment contract?
4. How should I pay wages to my helper?
5. When should I pay wages to my helper?
6. What should I do when my employer pays me wages?
7. What should I do if my employer pay less than my entitled wages?
1.Can an employer deduct the helpers wages to compensate for damages to goods caused by him/her? What other items may an employer deduct from the helpers wages?
An employer can make deduction for damage or loss to the employers goods or property directly attributable to the helpers negligence or default. In any one case, the sum to be deducted shall be the cost of the damaged item, subject to a limit of HK$300. The total of such deductions shall not exceed one quarter of the wages payable to the helper in that wage period.
The emloyer may also make deductions from the helpers wages under the following circumstances:
– deductions for absence from work not exceeding a sum proportionate to the period of absence;
– deduction for recovery of any advance or over-payment of wages made by the employer to the helper. The total sum to be deducted shall not exceed one quarter of the wages payable to the employee in that wage period;
– deductions, at the helpers written request, for recovery of any loan made to the helper; and
– deductions which are required or authorized under any enactment to be made from the wages of the helper.
Except with the approval in writing of the Commissioner for Labour, the total of all deductions, excluding those for absence from work, made in any one wage period must not exceed one half of the wages payable for that period.
2.What are the consequences if an employer fails to pay wages to the helper on time?
If an employer fails to pay wages to the helper within seven days from the due date of payment, he/she is:
– required to pay interest on the outstanding amount of wages to the helper; and
– liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$200,000 and to imprisonment for one year.
If wages are not paid within one month from the due date of payment, the helper may deem he/she has been dismissed by his/her employer without notice. Under such circumstances, the employer is required to pay wages in lieu of notice in addition to other statutory and contractual termination payment to the helper.
3.Can I agree with my helper to pay lesser amount of wages than that stipulated in the employment contract?
No. All foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, regardless of nationality, should receive at least the minimum allowable wages as stipulated in the employment contract. It is an offence if you pay your helper monthly wages below the minimum.
4.How should I pay wages to my helper?
You are advised to pay wages by cheque or by autopayment into your helpers bank account. To do this, you have to obtain your helpers consent before hand.If your helper does not prefer such methods of payment, you should pay him/her wages in legal tender.
You are required to keep records of wage payments eg. relevant bank statements. You should also provide a receipt for payment of wages and food allowance and ask your helper to acknowledge receipt of the amount. A sample wage receipt is at Appendix II.
5.When should I pay wages to my helper?
- You should pay wages to your helper not less than once every month.
For example, if your helper commences employment on 5th of January, you should pay him/her as soon as possible on 5th of February, and in no case later than seven days after than day, i.e.12th of February.
- If you wish to change the date of payment, you should give prior notice to your helper and clear the outstanding wages on the new payment date you have specified.
For example, your helper commenced employment on 5th of January. If you intend to change the payment date to the 15th of each month, you should clear the balance of the 10 days wages (i.e. from 6th to 15th) within seven days after the 15th of January before you pay him/her on the new payment date in February.
6.What should I do when my employer pays me wages?
You should check the amount paid to you. If correct, you should acknowledge receipt of the amount on the receipt prepared by your employer.
7.What should I do if my employer pay less than my entitled wages?
If the amount is less than the wages stipulated in the employment contract, you should check with your employer to see if there is any mistake in calculation. Never acknowledge receipt of wages that you were not paid. If there is no satisfactory explanation for the underpayment, you should report the case to the appropriate branch office of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department immediately.