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Payment and Deduction of Wages

Payment and Deduction of Wages

Payment and Deduction of Wages

1.Can I reach an agreement with the helper to pay wages below the statutory minimum wage?

The employer cannot reach an agreement with the helper to pay wages below the statutory minimum wage. When approving applications to import foreign domestic helpers, the Director of Immigration makes a decision based on the information submitted by the employer, including the employer’s agreement to pay wages no less than the statutory minimum. If an employer deliberately and without reasonable excuse fails to pay wages in accordance with the Standard Employment Contract, the employer may be prosecuted and liable to a maximum fine of HK$350,000 and imprisonment for 3 years if convicted. At the same time, the employer would also have committed serious offences such as making false representations to Immigration Department officers and conspiracy to defraud. It is unlawful for any person to make false representations to Immigration Department officers, and the maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of HK$150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years.

2.How should I be paid wages by the employer?

a. It is best to pay wages to the helper by cheque or autopay. However, you must obtain the helper’s consent before paying wages by the above methods. Otherwise, you have to pay wages in cash.

b.You should keep records of wage payments, such as relevant bank statements. You should also prepare receipts for wages and food allowance, and ask the helper to sign to acknowledge receipt of the amounts.

3.When should the employer pay wages to me?

a. The employer must pay wages to the helper at least once a month. The wages are due on the last day of the wage period. You must pay all wages to the helper as soon as possible, and in any case no later than 7 days after the end of the wage period.

b. If you want to change the wage period and pay day, you should notify the helper first and settle all outstanding wages.  

c. For example: If the helper started working on 1 March and you want to change the wage period to start on the 16th of each month, you should pay the wages already earned by the helper for the previous 15 days (i.e. wages for the period from 1 to 15 March) within 7 days after 15 March, and then pay wages on the new pay day in April.

4.What should I pay attention to when the employer pays wages?

You should check if the amount paid is correct. If the amount is correct, you should sign the receipt prepared by the employer to acknowledge receipt of the payment.

5.What should I do if the amount paid by the employer is less than the wages I should receive?

If the amount is less than what is stated in the employment contract, you should ask the employer if it was a calculation mistake. You should never sign to acknowledge receipt of any unpaid wages. If the employer underpays wages without reasonable explanation, you should immediately seek assistance from the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department.

6.If the helper damages the employer’s belongings, can the employer deduct wages as compensation? What other amounts can the employer deduct from the helper’s wages?

a. If the helper causes damage or loss to the employer’s goods, equipment or property due to the helper’s neglect or default, the employer may deduct wages as compensation up to a maximum of HK$300 for each occasion. Moreover, the total wages deducted for such cases should not exceed one-fourth of the wages earned by the helper during that wage period.

b. The employer may also deduct the helper’s wages in the following situations:

● For absences of the helper, but only up to the amount of wages for the actual hours of absence;

● For any wages paid in advance or overpaid to the helper, but the deduction  should not exceed one-fourth of the wages earned in that wage period; 

● For any loans made by the employer to the helper, but the helper’s written consent must be obtained;

● For deductions that the employer is required or authorized to make under any law. 

Unless with the prior written approval of the Commissioner for Labour, the total amount of deductions, apart from deductions for absences, should not exceed half of the wages earned by the helper during that wage period.

7.What are the consequences if the employer does not pay wages to the helper on time?

If an employer intentionally and without reasonable excuse fails to pay wages within 7 days after the end of the wage period, he/she: has to pay interest on the outstanding wages to the helper; and is liable to prosecution with a maximum penalty of a HK$350,000 fine and 3 years’ imprisonment if convicted. If the helper still does not get the wages due within 1 month after they became due, the employment contract is deemed to be terminated by the employer without notice. In such case, the employer will have to pay the helper payment in lieu of notice and other termination payment.