HA NOI (VNS) — Dang Thuy Dung, a resident in Ha Noi City's Cau Giay District, made several attempts to find a domestic housekeeper to take care of her one-year-old child earlier this month.
She has spent quite some money on fees for centres that specialize in introducing and supplying housekeepers.
In mid-August, she signed a contract with an intermediary centre in Dong Da District which was recommended by her neighbour.
According to the contract, the company takes responsibility for finding Dung a housekeeper for a fee of nearly VND1 million (US$46) and she has the option to change three housekeepers within the month.
Following the contract, the company provided Dung's family with three domestic workers.
However, the first one quit after several days due to some family issues back home. The second one lacked experience in childcare.
"The last one was OK, but she asked for a salary of VND 4.5 million ($214) per month - only one month after working at my house," she said. "I had to let her go because I couldn't meet that demand."
Dung is among many urban housewives in the city who have to rely on these centres for recommending them reliable and good housekeepers.
According to experts, demand for domestic help has grown in recent years due to people's busy lifestyles, but there is a lack of quality centres who can do this job properly.
In addition, many service also lack investment, recruitment and training programmes.
A woman from one of these companies in Ha Noi who wants to remain anonymous said her company only rented a small office room, bought several tables and office supplies and then started advertising the business.
"We obviously care about making profits, not their skills, personalities or health conditions," she said.
Pham Van Thanh, Manger of the Department of Labour, Employment policy under the city Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (VN Economic Times) newspaper that the city currently has a total of 33 companies and centres which have been licensed to introduce jobs, and domestic help is only a small part.
Despite appearing over ten years ago, the business of supplying and introducing family maids is still considered spontaneous, causing difficulties in the management of relevant agencies.
According to surveys conducted by the Centre for Gender, Family and Community Development in co-operation with Oxfam carried out from 2007-13, as many as 98.4 per cent of domestic workers nationwide have not been formally trained and more than 90 per cent did not have written contracts with homeowners.
Many organisations and centres are providing training to domestic workers for labour export rather than meeting local demand, according to the surveys.
Therefore, according to Hoang Minh Hao, deputy director of the Labour-Salary Department under the labour ministry, domestic help which was recognised as an occupation in the revised Labour Code adopted last year should soon be listed in the national occupational classification.
"If the occupation is considered as a professional one, we could build a training programme to help supply skills to local domestic workers, improve quality and enhance the management of the workforce," Hao said.
Dang Thi Khai, 50, of northern Phu Tho Province, who is working for a family in the city's Hai Ba Trung District, has worked as a domestic worker in the city for about two years. She said that she only provided an intermediary centre with a photocopy of her ID card and a CV notarized by local authorities.
"The centre only took me to the family and introduced me to the home owner. Later, we had to negotiate everything by ourselves," Khai said. — VNS