Many families have been complaining because their maids are unable or refuse to return to work after Tet, as the first lunar month is a time to relax.
Labourers and office workers returned to work on Febuary 5 after an 8-day Tet holiday, but many freelance and seasonal workers extend their holiday, which can last until the first full moon festival on January 15 of the lunar calendar.
Nguyen Thi Lien, of Hanoi, said that even though she told her helpers to return before February 5, they are never on time. She said, "We called our maid several times but we were told that her mother was ill and she would not be able to come back before January 15 on lunar calendar."
Students have longer holiday than adults, so without the domestic help many parents find this time troublesome, especially if they have small children. They do not know where to send their kids to during working hours. Some people send their kids to relatives or neighbours' houses. This has even caused disputes in some cases.
Ha, a resident in Tay Ho District, said, "We're all busy with work and have to share the housework. However my husband always tries to escape chores. This has started fights between us."
While some maids want to stay in their hometowns to enjoy their holiday, several find other ways to earn money. One said, "We work very hard and only have a one long holiday, so we want to be able to enjoy it a bit longer. If the employer doesn't agree then we can find jobs at other houses. Jobs are not scarce now."
Le Thi Khuyen of Ha Nam Province said her helper wanted to stay home for one more week and asked for a raise. "She said she'd work if we agreed or we could find somebody else," Khuyen said.
Meanwhile, another resident of Hanoi named Thanh said she had to give a lot in bonuses, gifts and even sent a vehicle to their helper's hometown in order to persuade her to return to work.