An Ayi (Chinese pronounciation for the characters 阿姨, sounds like ahj-ee) literally means "auntie" but in general it refers to domestic helpers. They are generally middle-aged rural women who earn a living by helping in the household of an urban middle/high-income family. They do cleaning, buying food, cooking, washing etc. Ayis cost about 2000 to 3000 RMB/month.
It's very important to have an ayi that you can trust, because she will often be home alone. Many families prefer to live with the ayi partially to increase the supervision. It also means the ayi doesn't need to pay for her own apartment, so it might be cheaper that way. I don't know of any ayi that speak English, but I have read there are some. Those must be (much) more expensive. It's good to check ID card and check with previous employers of the ayi. Most often people find ayis via recommendations of friends, or via professional companies.
Full-time ayis work Monday to Friday from early morning to about 6 in the evening. Live-in ayis normally have 1 day off per week on Sunday, or whatever else you agree upon. You have to provide a seperate room for her to live, so this is only possible if your house is big enough for it. This is another reason why bigger houses are in favor, despite the fact that most families can only have 1 child :) There are also ayis that work part-time or just get paid by the hour (around 15-20RMB/hour). The ayi should get paid once per month on a fixed date. The ayi should also get time off during the traditional Chinese holidays. Often they want to go back to their hometown to visit family for example.
After couples have a newborn baby, they often want some extra help to learn how to raise the baby. Midwives are unknown here, so people often hire a specialized ayi for this job. They are called "yuesao". They are experts in helping mom recover and providing extra nourishment to the newborn baby. Yuesao have received formal training and have experience with several families. They will prepare traditional foods such as fish-soup for the mother to stimulate milk-production. They are also hands-on help for the new parents to teach them how to take care of the baby. Yuesao are more expensive than normal ayis but most people don't care so much about the price, because a yuesao only stays for 1 month and the health of both mom and baby is very important. It's perfectly normal to ask for a health-check at a hospital before hiring a yuesao or normal ayi that will work with your children.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 August 2010 )|
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