Cost of Hiring a Domestic Helper in Singapore

cost hiring domestic helper washing machine

Peter Lin



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 is a relatively straightforward business – at least, when it comes to how much it’ll cost you.


Expected Fees

The following are to be paid directly to the domestic helper’s employment agency:

  1. Maid Agency fees – between $100 and $2,000 (depending on agency)
  2. Settling-in Programme – $75 (if the domestic helper is working in Singapore for the first time)
  3. Work Permit application – $30
  4. Work Permit issuance – $30
  5. Foreign Domestic Worker Levy – $265 (or $60 with concessions – we’ll discuss the eligibility for concessions below) per month
  6. Security deposit – $5,000 (in the form of an insurance or banker’s guarantee)
  7. Medical Insurance coverage – minimum coverage of $15,000
  8. Personal Accident Insurance – minimum coverage of $40,000

Thus the total amount you should expect to pay upfront would be anything between $500 to $2,600, depending on the maid agency and whether you qualify for the levy concessions.


Foreign Domestic Worker levy concessions

Thanks to this year’s Budget announcement, it has become slightly cheaper to hire a domestic helper in Singapore. 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 $265. 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, 65 years old and above and living with you. Just note that from 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 $120 under the foreign domestic worker grant.


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. Earlier this year, Indonesia set the minimum salary of all domestic helpers at a minimum of $500. 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
Indonesia $500
Philippines $500
Myanmar $450
Sri Lanka $400


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.

Watch out for an upcoming MoneySmart article about part-time helpers and stay tuned with us on Facebook.

Is the cost of hiring a domestic helper in Singapore too high? We want to hear from you.


Related articles:

Maid Insurance In Singapore 2018 – You Don’t Know What It Covers, Right?

Part-Time Cleaners in Singapore 2018 – Is This a Cost Effective Option?

4 Reasons Singaporeans are So Reliant on Their Maids

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.