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Should I provide a food allowance or share food?

In addition to salary payments, you are also required to provide your domestic worker with sufficient food. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Pay them a monthly food allowance, so that they can buy their own groceries. The Hong Kong government establishes a minimum permitted food allowance, which is currently set at HK$1,196 per month.
  • Share your food, making sure to clearly communicate how the sharing will work.

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 your worker if she has any allergies or religious dietary restrictions.


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Last updated on October 10th, 2022