The demands made on Chinese housemaids by their employers have triggered a heated debate after a Shanghai woman gave her new employee a list of 20 rules to memorise before she started work. The new housemaid was required to sleep on the living room floor, change in to special clothes when caring for her employer’s baby, clean floors by hand with just a towel, and refrain from eating garlic. Jail for Singapore woman who abused helper for doing chores slowly According to Shanghai news channel STV, the woman, surnamed Zhou, offered 12,000 yuan (US$1,750) a month – far above the city’s average housemaid’s wage of 5,929 yuan – for someone to care for her baby and do the housework after her maternity leave. The attractive compensation drew many applicants and a woman, surnamed Tang, was eventually offered the position. But when she was told of the rules she would have to follow, Tang rejected the offer. “I have worked as a housemaid for 16 years, yet these are the strictest rules I have ever seen,” she said. The 20 rules were divided into three parts: basic requirements and privacy protection, instructions for taking care of the newborn, and a set of personal hygiene requirements for the housemaid. The list was leaked and circulated on a number of housemaid groups on WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app, before being posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, on June 29 where it quickly went viral. The hot trend attracted 140 million people to discuss and comment on the issue. Some people found the rules were unfair and unreasonable. “The list shows distrust and disrespect toward the housemaid which is very inconsiderate. Money can buy labour, but not a sincere service,” one Weibo user commented. Saudi Arabia executes Filipino domestic worker for murder Yet, others agreed with the employer, leaving comments like, “Actually, these rules are very basic, not immoral or unlawful”, and “I think is reasonable to raise the 20 rules with this high salary, if you cannot accept it then back to apply for the job with 4,000 to 5,000”. The position was finally taken by a woman, surnamed Wang, who said, “Nowadays it is getting harder to earn money, no pain no gain. Housemaids are here for giving a high quality and friendly service, aren’t we?” On Monday, Beijing Youth Daily reported the Shanghai Home Service Industry Association as saying the 20 rules were “strict and a rare requirement in the current home service industry, but didn’t contain any discrimination to the housemaid so it is a normal employer’s requirement”. A 2018 report on China’s home service industry said there were more than 2.5 million people employed in home service work in 2016, and estimated that by 2025 the demand for household service would increase to 5 million. On June 26, China’s State Council issued guidelines to improve standards in the home service industry. Among the recommendations were the establishment of courses to improve the quality of housemaids in China, the provision of health check services to the workers and the establishment of related laws to improve their working conditions.