When it comes to the rights and remuneration of Foreign domestic helper salary (外傭工資), international discourse has often painted a patchwork picture. With domestic work being one of the most common occupations for women worldwide, understanding the variations in wages across different countries is crucial in gauging the economic and social standing of these workers. In this comparative analysis, we’ll take a deep dive into the discrepancies of FDH wages across global hotspots for this occupation, shedding light on the stark differences that persist.

The Landscape of Domestic Helper Employment

Employing FDHs is a common practice in many developed and developing nations, where the demands of modern life often necessitate additional household support. Popular destinations for FDH employment include the Middle East, parts of Asia, and even some Western countries. While the reasons for hiring domestic helpers can vary, core to this discussion is the standard of wages.

Factors Influencing Wage Disparities

Wages of FDHs are influenced by several factors, not merely economic strength. Local labor laws, the relative bargaining power of the worker, and even cultural norms can impact the compensation received. Additionally, seasonal demands can drive up wages temporarily in some markets.

The Benchmark: Understanding a Fair Wage

Before we compare wages, we must define what constitutes a fair wage. Various international bodies have suggested metrics for gauging wage fairness, such as the cost of living and the average local income. For domestic helpers specifically, ensuring their wages cover basics like food, shelter, and healthcare is a common yardstick for fairness.

The Role of International Organizations

Entities like the International Labour Organization (ILO) and non-governmental organizations play a crucial role in advocating for fair wages and labor rights. They’ve been instrumental in setting guidelines and creating a platform for the workforce to voice their concerns.

A Region-By-Region Wage Breakdown

To understand the wage discrepancies, we’ll zoom into various regions and spotlight some notable countries that are popular for FDH employment. The focus will be on the monthly wages earned by domestic helpers in these regions.

The Middle East: From High to Low Wages

The Middle East is known for its significant reliance on migrant domestic labor. While countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia offer some of the highest FDH wages, there’s a stark contrast with lower-ranking nations such as Iraq or Yemen, where wages are much lower.

Asia’s Disparity in Wages

Asian nations like Singapore and Hong Kong lead the charts with competitive monthly wages, whereas the wages in countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines are significantly less, often below the subsistence level.

The West and Beyond

Even in the Western world, where standards of living are generally high, the wages for FDHs vary greatly. While countries like Switzerland and Norway offer some of the most generous salaries, countries without strong legislative protection, such as those in Eastern Europe, may offer wages that are less comparable to local standards.

Implications and Call for Change

This wide range of wages not only reflects economic differences but also inequities within the global labor market. The plight of FDHs is a call for stronger regulations, not just in the payment of wages, but in ensuring working conditions and overall job security.

The Need for a Unified Approach

To tackle this issue, a unified approach with international collaboration is essential. The sharing of best practices, the development of globally accepted standards, and the enforcement of existing regulations are all critical steps toward achieving wage equality for FDHs.

How Can Employers and Communities Help?

Individuals who employ FDHs can play their part by ensuring that they offer fair wages and respectable working conditions. Communities, on the other hand, can provide support and resources to help empower domestic workers to advocate for their rights.


The wages of foreign domestic helpers vary dramatically across the world’s regions, reflecting broader considerations of economics, legislation, and cultural norms. But regardless of these factors, what remains constant is the need for equitable treatment and fair payment for an often underappreciated workforce. As we move forward, it’s imperative that we continue to push for change, so that all domestic helpers can enjoy the recognition and remuneration that their essential work deserves.

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