Most expat families have a full-time housekeeper to help with cooking, cleaning, shopping and child care. If you have children and live in a large villa, it makes sense to have a live-in assistant. Many families enjoy the convenience of having a live-in housekeeper, while others prefer to hire an assistant for Mondays through Fridays, for the sake of privacy during evenings and weekends. All manner of needs and preferences can be accommodated. Wages are around $20/hour for helpers with English-speaking ability, less for those without.
The best source of domestic help is often one’s friends and colleagues. Ask around, as word of mouth can be the best networking tool in Hanoi. Your landlord may also have friends or relatives looking for work in an expat home.
Upon leaving Hanoi, an expat family will often help their housekeeper find new employment. Such notices are usually posted on the bulletin boards at specialty groceries, such as L’s Place, as well as at cafes and restaurants patronized by Westerners.
If you find domestic help through an agency, you will have a contract with the agency and they will deal with taxes and government forms, and also specify working hours and days off. Employees found by private means are paid cash under the table, and working terms are agreed to by oral contract. Non-agency employees generally do not receive benefits such as health insurance from employers, though they traditionally receive at least one month’s bonus pay at Tet, the Lunar New Year (in January or February, depending on the lunar calendar).
Live-in help will astonish you by working harder and doing more than you would dream of asking or expecting from them–and all with humility and a smile! A live-in housekeeper will cook, clean, shop, do laundry and help with childcare for about $300/month plus room and board. One day off per week is standard.
Hiring domestic help privately is not a legal issue in Vietnam–in fact, most of Vietnam’s domestic economy probably operates under the table. The main advantage of an agency is that employees will have passed thorough professional training, and you have recourse to an administrative office to deal with any problems. Personal references often carry even more weight than professional ones in Vietnam, but if you don’t have a candidate recommended by a friend or colleague, you may want to start with an agency.
The New Hanoian website often has postings from expats helping their employees find new positions. Check the classified page here:
These agencies can also be of use in finding domestic staff:
Maid in Vietnam
34 Xuan Dieu
Tel: 04 718 3112
28A Ha Hoi
Tel: 04 942 4448