Maid service is an interesting business that should not be overlooked. KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) forecasts that in 2007 the number of persons employed in private households may reach 400,000, thus generating THB27 billion in cashflows. These estimates are based on a calculation of the average wage of housemaids interviewed by KResearch. Their wages typically vary according to their experience and employers' satisfaction. By and large, maid service in Thailand can be categorized into three types, i.e.,
- Local household servants working in Thailand – In 2007, the number of Thai housemaids is expected to total some 225,000 persons, which could generate some THB11 billion for the economy. Amid a shortage of housemaids, many private households have to struggle to find staff to meet their needs. In many cases, they fail to do so. To cash in on this trend, maid service companies have made greater inroads to the market. They provide households with professional/trained maids who hold the same status as company employees. The main difference from conventional household servants are their wages and job descriptions which are subject to terms and conditions specified in written agreements made by maid service companies, which include provision for specified workdays and holidays. By comparison, conventional household maids enter into casual agreements with their employers on their wages and assigned chores on a case-by-case basis.
- Alien workers – It is estimated that the number of alien laborers employed by private households may reach 150,000, thus likely generating some THB9 billion in wages. Alien housemaids can be divided into two groups, i.e., those who have a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labour, and those who don't. Their wages are in a range of approximately THB3,000-THB5,000/month. Lately, a work permit and Thai language proficiency have been regarded as the key criteria for setting wages, while experience has become less important. Licensed alien workers are able to negotiate for higher wages than those without a work permit.
- Thai maids in foreign countries – In 2007, Thai housemaids working abroad are expected to total some 25,000 persons, accounting for almost 20 percent of the entire Thai workforce overseas. Thai maids working in foreign countries are expected to repatriate a staggering THB7 billion from their incomes to their homeland in 2007. Thai housemaids are evidently in high demand in foreign countries, particularly, in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Most Thai housemaids, at the same time, prefer working abroad thanks to comparatively higher wages. In Hong Kong, housemaids can earn at least THB18,000 per month while household servants in Taiwan can gain a monthly income of THB19,000 or higher, depending on their experience and job descriptions as specified in their employment contracts. Currently, both public and privately-run agencies in Thailand handle recruitment of housemaids to work overseas.
At present, no regulatory agency is in charge of registration of the business of household servant recruiting to both the domestic market and overseas despite of its vast business potential. Standards of each company should be established including personnel qualifications, plus penalties for criminal or civil abuse of employed maids. It must be set forth that a maid service company must take common responsibility for the maids they have supplied to households. At the same time, employment agreements between the maids and households should be arranged while regulations should also be imposed to control the business and protect consumers against being deceived by recruitment of untrained maids. What's more, there should be protection to cover damages to life and property. In the case of alien laborers employed as household servants, limiting the quota is deemed the best way, but points that must be stringently monitored include renewing work permits and controlling the transfer of alien laborers to other unregistered employers, which could potentially cause problems in tracking and controlling alien laborers.
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