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Major threat from unskilled domestic helpers

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This week, three videos were posted online by a mother in northern Hà Nam Province showing a domestic helper slapping a one-month old infant on her face, head and back, throwing the girl in the air and putting a towel in her mouth.

This week, three videos were posted online by a mother in northern Hà Nam Province showing a domestic helper slapping a one-month old infant on her face, head and back, throwing the girl in the air and putting a towel in her mouth. — Photo vov.vn

 

The domestic helper was arrested and said she had lost self-control during the incident. She hit the infant when the parents were away because the infant cried so hard that she could not do housework. The case raises big questions about the skills of local domestic helpers in Việt Nam.

According to a survey by the Gender, Family and Community Development (GFCD) Centre in 2015, 90 per cent of Vietnamese domestic helpers do not have professional training.

The survey also showed that nearly 90 per cent of domestic helpers didn’t have labour contracts with their employers, leaving them unable to claim benefits.

Ngô Thị Ngọc Anh, GFCD director, said 98.6 per cent of domestic helpers are female, with an average age of 44.8. Each works about 11 hours a day.

Due to limited awareness, many of them are afraid of attending training classes and signing work contracts as they would be restricted by the rules in such contracts.

According to Nguyễn Trọng An, former deputy head of the Department of Child Protection and Care under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) there are no specific regulations on selecting domestic helpers, especially those hired to take care of children.

“Domestic helpers may demonstrate bad behaviour such as stealing, being lazy and commit more serious acts of violence against children. These violent actions may stem from a helper’s psychological disorder,” he said.

Domestic helpers in countries such as the Philippines and the Republic of Korea must undergo health checks. In Việt Nam, due to demand outstripping supply, many families hire untrained helpers or those with unclear résumes, he said.

“Families find helpers by themselves or ask for an introduction from others. They might not know that their domestic helpers are infected with communicable diseases or suffer from mental illnesses. Families must be careful when selecting such employees,” he said.

According to Tống Thị Minh, head of MoLISA’s Labour and Salary Department, domestic helpers have made important contributions to the global economy in caring for the elderly, children and the disabled.

However, there remain some problems. Many unskilled domestic helpers steal things or become violent. In Việt Nam, a legal framework on the matter has been issued but in fact, both employers and employees are not fully aware of the labour laws. The content in work contracts is unclear.

Criteria

Ngô Thị Ngọc Anh, GFCD director, recommended five criteria to select domestic helpers. Firstly, domestic helpers must have a clear résume verified by authorities and must provide their relatives’ address so host families can contact them if necessary.

The second tip is to check helpers’ skills in the sector. The employers should check helpers’ health to ensure they are not infected with communicable diseases that could be transmitted to family members as well as other illnesses.

The helpers’ cautiousness, enthusiasm, personality and lifestyles should be taken into consideration. Last but not least, a work contract must be signed to clarify the responsibilities of the helper and the family.

 

Source: VNS

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