It is estimated that by the year 2014 there were already over 20 million domestic workers in China, most of whom were women. While the number is still on the rise, the huge population of workers in this industry are facing many difficulties. Regarding this issue, representatives of China’s ongoing “two sessions” have recently provided advice and recommendations.
Some of this advice aims at the standardization of the industry. Most domestic workers now seek jobs through intermediaries, whose services vary largely in quality, depending on the different companies. Representatives from Guangdong and Heilongjiang province suggested the formulation of an industry standard and the promotion of an “employee system” to replace the intermediaries, which would make the industrialization of home services possible. Another bit of advice provided by the representatives concerns the problem of confused administration. In Qingdao city, the Municipal Bureau of Commerce (商务局) is in charge of the home services industry, while the training of domestic workers is the responsibility of the Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security (人力资源与社会保障局). The representatives suggested that one governmental body take full responsibility over this administration, so as to avoid disorder and waste of resources. There has also been advice seeking to protect the legal rights of domestic workers. There are currently no laws regulating the relationship between employers, intermediaries and domestic workers, and there is no one willing to sell social insurance to domestic workers. A CPPCC representative surnamed Li urged to make domestic workers qualified for social insurance.
While the need for domestic workers in Chinese cities is increasing, the rights of domestic workers are barely discussed. Although representatives have submitted proposals for the home services industry, few of them have been put on the conference agenda.