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Domestic workers in high demand as Tet approaches

Update: January, 19/2012 - 10:05

HA NOI — The demand for part-time domestic helpers in big cities such as Ha Noi has soared during the run up to Tet, and the cost of hiring help has sky-rocketed as well.

Nguyen Thanh Nga, a trader in Ha Noi's Cau Giay Street, was so worried about doing all of her household chores and preparing things for the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on January 23, that she tried to hire some outside help.

Nga had learnt from her experience last Tet when she was unable to find any help because she waited too long to secure someone. Last month, she contacted several services to hire a part-time domestic helper but they were already fully booked.

"All domestic workers were already booked for before and after Tet. I'm thinking of hiring a vendor to do the cleaning," Nga said.

Nga's worry is similar to any housewife's headache, as most domestic helpers, often migrant workers, return to their hometowns for the big holiday.

Nguyen Thu Hang, an administrator at a house cleaning company on Nguyen Khang Street, said demand had increased by 40 per cent in the run up to Tet.

She said the company received a thousand requests but were only able to meet half of the demand due to the shortage of labourers.

The company would boost its service fees by up to 45 per cent by the end of this week if demand remained the same, she said.

Part-time domestic workers could receive VND3 million (US$144) for 10 days of working during Tet, equal to an entire month's salary during normal times, she said.

Le Thanh Tam, an official at Phu Tin Joint Stock Company said people were going to enjoy a longer Tet this year so many consumers were willing to pay up to VND400,000 ($20) per day to get professional help for the 10-day holiday.

Professional workers with special skills, such as those who know how to cook Western food, use home electronics with ease, tend to decorative trees or speak some English could earn up to VND600,000 ($30) per day, as could those hired to take care of ill elderly people.

Phan Phuong Nga, manager of Minh Khanh Co Ltd said the trend saw labourers working part-time shifts for multiple families because they could earn significantly more money by working for four or five families per day.

Part-time helpers also had free time for their own families when they finished work early, she said.

Most centres currently only place part-time labourers, she said.

Nguyen Hang, a part-time domestic helper in Thanh Xuan District, said she earned VND7 million ($336) from cleaning and doing chores around-the-clock last Tet.

"I will work until New Year's Eve this Tet. Then I want to return to my hometown to celebrate the new year with my family," she said. — VNS

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