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February 12, 2011

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City ayis set for 30% pay raise

SHANGHAI'S ayis are set to clean up with pay raises of up to 30 percent this year, household services companies said yesterday.

Wages for full-time domestic helpers are expected to reach 2,500 yuan (US$379) to 3,000 yuan a month, about 20 to 30 percent higher than last year.

The salary hike is due to a persistent labor shortage over the past few years, soaring living costs and more work opportunities in other parts of the country.

Li Rong, a manager with the Shanghai Laibang Household Service Co, predicted that salaries for ayis in the city would increase around 20 to 30 percent this year as the number of domestic helpers is lagging behind demand.

The current salary for a full-time ayis starts at about 2,000 yuan a month. For people working for foreign families, the rate is usually between 3,500 to 6,000 yuan.

But the rate for hourly paid ayis is likely to stay about the same as last year, at between 12 to 15 yuan an hour, as demand for full-time domestic helpers is much greater.

"We're likely to go through a serious labor shortage this year," Li warned.

Li pointed out that 90 percent of the company's ayis who returned to their hometowns to celebrate the Spring Festival have not come back yet. Usually, about 30 percent would be back by now.

Xia Jun, an official with the Jialilai Household Service Co, agreed that salaries would increase, without specifying.

The company has been receiving nearly 1,000 calls a day asking for domestic helpers, but only about 20 percent of ayis on its books have returned after the holiday.

Li said the current income paid to ayis in Shanghai is not competitive, leading some to work in factories near their hometowns, where they can earn similar wages.

But Chen Xizhu, director of the Shanghai Household Service Association, said they would keep salary increases within a reasonable range.


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