There are many reasons to hire a domestic helper in Singapore. You might be a new family with young children and two working parents. You might be looking for help to take care of your aging parents who may need more attention than you can afford to give them due to your work commitments.
Or may you just need someone to maintain the house and cook your meals while you’re busy earning those big bucks at work. Whatever the reasons, hiring a domestic worker was relatively straightforward business – at least, until Covid-19 hit. When it comes to how much it’ll cost you, you have additional costs you’ll need to take into account.
Maid employment agency fees in Singapore
The following are to be paid directly to the domestic helper’s employment agency.
|Type of fees||New maid||Transfer maid|
|Maid agency fees||Between $1,000 to $3,000||Between $1,000 to $3,000|
|Settling in (for first-time helpers)||$75||N.A.|
|Work permit application||$35||$35|
|Work permit issuance||$35||$35|
|Foreign Domestic Worker Levy||$300 (or $60 with concessions)||$300 (or $60 with concessions)|
|Security deposit required by MOM||$5,000||$5,000|
|Maid insurance (Minimum medical coverage of $15,000 and personal accident coverage of $60,000)||$316.87 (FWD)||$316.87 (FWD)|
|Covid-19- related expenses||Antigen Rapid Test (ART) at the checkpoint: $67
Serology and PCR tests: $175
14-day SHN at a dedicated facility: $1,000 – $1,500
PCR test on day 14 of SHN: $125
|Total||Between $7,889 and $10,629||Between $6,447 and $8,687|
Thus the total amount you should expect to pay upfront would be anything between $1,447 and $5,629 (excluding security deposit) depending on the maid agency, whether you qualify for the levy concessions, and whether it’s your helper’s first time in Singapore or not.
Additionally, you’ll also be expected to pay an upfront placement fees by most agencies. This amount can vary depending on where your helper is from. For instance, a new ruling by the Indonesian authorities to pass the cost of the FDW placement fee to employers since last year has added an extra cost of up to $3,000. However, the saving grace is that this one-time fee to cover expenses such as transportation, accommodation and medical examinations will be deducted from your helper’s salary in subsequent months.
Foreign Domestic Worker levy concessions
Currently, there are three categories under the Foreign Domestic Worker levy concessions that allow you to pay the monthly levy of $60 instead of the usual $300. They are:
Young Child/Grandchild Scheme
If there is a child or grandchild who is a Singapore Citizen, 16 years old or younger and living with you.
Aged Person Scheme
If there is an elderly family member who is a Singapore Citizen, 67 years old and above and living with you. Since 1 Apr 2019, the qualifying age for the aged person scheme will be raised from 65 to 67. This is in light of improving life expectancy and health of Singaporeans.
Person With Disabilities (PWD) Scheme
If there is a person with disabilities who needs help with at least 1 activity of daily living (ADL), such as showering, eating, dressing or getting around. Alternatively, if the disability is not so severe, you can apply for a monthly grant to subsidise the levy cost of the domestic helper.
If you hire an FDW to care for a family member who requires permanent assistance with 3 or more ADLs, you may qualify for a monthly grant of $200 under the Home Caregiving Grant.
Home Caregiving Grant replaces foreign domestic worker grant (FDW grant) from 1 Oct 2019
From 1 Oct 2019, the Home Caregiving Grant ($200) will be available for families who need to hire a maid for caregiving services.
It will replace the FDW grant, which used to pay out $120 per month.
In order to qualify, families need to go through a means test.
Recipients must be either Singaporean citizen or PRs and live in Singapore.
Additionally, the household income per person is $2,800 or less and the annual value of property for household without income is $13,000 or less. A family member must been permanent help with 3 or more ADLs.
Say you are hiring a maid for caregiving services at $600. You pay a decreased levy at $60 and get a cash payout of $200 to defray costs. This means you pay an affordable $460 per month for a domestic helper (other one-time costs apply).
What is the average salary of a domestic helper?
There are many determining factors when determining salary. Experience and relevant training are the main deciding factors. However, a domestic helper’s nationality may also play a part. Indonesia has set the minimum salary of all domestic helpers at $550.
Around the same time the Philippines government is looking to reduce the number of domestic helpers entering Singapore. With the reduced supply, expect the salaries to increase accordingly.
This is the minimum salary you can expect to pay a new domestic helper, based on their nationality.
|Country of Origin||Minimum Salary|
Obviously, the actual salary may depend on the helper’s experience, the workload that is expected, and other various factors. For an experienced domestic helper, expect to pay more.
According to HelperChoice, a platform where you can use to hire maids, the average salary of a domestic helper in Singapore is close to $600.
Other miscellaneous costs
Other than the domestic helper’s salary and levy, you are also liable for her food and accommodation, medical expenses, travel expenses (including air ticket home) as well as any emergency expenses like hospitalisation fees, should there be a need for it.
This is why you definitely shouldn’t scrimp on things like maid insurance.
There’s more to it than money
Of course, these are just the basic costs involved in hiring a domestic helper in Singapore. There’s a lot of other factors when deciding if you need a domestic helper than just how much it will cost you. Do consider if you really need a full-time domestic helper to help with your household, or if your needs are less demanding and you can actually suffice with a part-time cleaner or rely on childcare services.
Is the cost of hiring a domestic helper in Singapore too high? We want to hear from you.