Just a few days after news circulated that Chinese citizens are apparently upset over China making it legal for Filipino household workers to offer services in five cities, more news of how some Chinese treat their domestic workers went viral.
A Chinese employer is angry after her domestic worker used an air conditioner without her permission.
The woman, identified only as Wong, took to a Facebook group to vent her anger and wrote, “I got up at 1 a.m. the other night and saw that she had turned on her air conditioning, so I turned it off again and opened her bedroom door. Later, when I got up at 4 a.m. to use the bathroom, her door had been closed again and the air con was back on. I was so annoyed.”
She further added, “She was previously able to endure the baking heat during a typhoon and would make sure to ask before switching the air conditioning on. Now, however, she’s audacious in the extreme. Before, I had planned on letting her use the air con at night once she completed her three-month probation, but after tonight, I’m going to tear down the switch and add a lock [to the air con unit].”
Authorities had issued a “very hot weather” warning to people in Hong Kong as the temperature was expected reach 32 degrees Celsius.
Wong’s rant was not welcomed on social media and people criticized her for “banning” her helper from using the air conditioning unit.
“It’s so hot. If your boss refused to turn the air conditioning on at your work, how would you feel?” wrote one user.
While some told her not to hire a helper if she can’t afford to pay the bill, others tried to explain that it was better if she was allowed her maid to use the air conditioning as it would help her to sleep better and hence perform better at work.
Following the criticism, Wong explained that the unnamed helper was treated very nicely at her home and she also has an entire “room all to herself, a window and a fan.”
After Wong’s explanation, the admin of the Facebook group deleted her post. However, that didn’t stop the post going viral as screenshots of the thread started circulating on social media.
The post started a whole new debate on whether employees should be given the liberty of using air conditioners. Liberal Party's Michael Lee said that the post raises the issue that domestic workers should be given guidelines and contracts should mention rules.
“There has been a lot of concern over the matter of whether a housekeeper did not ask her boss if she wanted to switch on the air conditioning. I think that there should be some house rules to let her know what she can and cannot do,” Lee said.
He further said that these workers “come from hot, hot countries. I don't know whether they are used to sleeping with the air conditioning on.”
As per law, employees in Hong Kong have to live at their employer’s accommodation but many employees end up living in unsatisfactory conditions as their contracts only state that they must be provided “suitable accommodation.”
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Vivek Prakash