Should I provide a food allowance or share food?

In addition to salary payments, an employer of a domestic helper is also required to provide your domestic worker with sufficient food. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Pay a monthly food allowance, so that the helper can buy their own groceries. The Hong Kong government establishes a minimum permitted food allowance, which is currently set at HK$1,236per month.
  • Share your food, making sure to clearly communicate how the sharing will work.

What employers should consider when choosing the food arrangement

Although many employers choose to share their meals, be aware that this choice won’t bring about the same level of clarity as a monthly grocery allowance does.

Many domestic workers experience hunger or even malnourishment, not because an employer is intentionally withholding sustenance, but because the worker does not have a clear understanding of what household food they are allowed to eat.

Good communication is very important in this area in order to establish clear, explicit guidelines about what they are allowed to eat. Think through the arrangement carefully, and communicate to your worker, exactly how the meal sharing will work in your household. This needs to include the when, where, what, and how much.

Keep in mind that you may need to ask the helper about any allergies or religious dietary restrictions.

Last updated on December 7th, 2023

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