David Hasselhoff must continue paying alimony to his ex-wife, because she's earned it after 16 long years of working for him behind the scenes ... according to her, anyway.

A rep for Hasselhoff's ex, Pamela Bach, tells TMZ ... she worked hard on David's behalf during their marriage, which is more than enough reason to continue supporting her now.

We're told Pam contributed a number of services toward his career -- everything from consulting, accounting and handling administrative duties to keeping up with the house and kids ... whom she still considers under her parental care, even at 25 and 27.

We broke the story ... David's asked a judge to end his $10k/month alimony payments because he says it's time Pamela started paying her own way.

Pamela thinks David still owes her, and believes the judge will agree. And BTW, sources say she isn't sitting on her ass -- she's trying to get back into acting.