Employing a maid in singapore

Employing a maid in singapore

indonesian helper maid agecy

Hiring domestic helpers is becoming more and more popular in Singapore, especially with the rising costs of living and increasingly common occurrence of families having 2 breadwinners. The tired and rushed lifestyle of modern families requires someone else to take over the mundane and even more tiresome household chores.

A clean environment to live in is also the first step to a clear mind.

Modern families should consider hiring maids in Singapore when things at home become impossible to keep up with, when one is drowning in work or when there are family outings and you simply need extra hands on deck. However, few know of the costs, requirements and process of employing maids and sometimes even break the law by accident while trying to employ someone overseas by themselves.

Hence, it is essential to read up on this information religiously before trying to hire a maid in Singapore as well as follow these tips! They will tell you all you need to know about hiring a maid for your family in Singapore!

Who can employ a maid in Singapore?

Generally, as long as you can fulfil the following conditions, you are eligible:

  • 21 years old and older
  • Not currently bankrupt
  • Have the minimum household income, which cannot be revealed but will be reviewed  (you may opt for the Joint Income Scheme or the Sponsorship scheme in order to fulfil the minimum deposit)
  • Have apt mental capacity to thoroughly recognise and fulfil the obligations of an employer (mental issues such as schizophrenia and dementia may affect this requirement)
  • Not blacklisted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for breaching regulations or breaking laws surrounding foreign workers

For first-time maid employers:

For employers who have changed maids more than 3 times within a 12 month period:

  • Take the EOP before attempting to hire any subsequent maids

Should I engage the service of Employment Agencies/ Maid Agencies?

It is advisable to go to an employment/ maid agency in order to hire a domestic helper, especially if it is the first time you are hiring one. This is due to various reasons.

Firstly, the process of hiring a domestic helper is not as simple as contacting a potential candidate through a referral and applying a work permit for her. There are complicated procedures to complete and many confusing laws which may inhibit this process. Furthermore, the law requires one to be certified and registered to perform employment-related tasks such as allocating a foreigner to a job in Singapore. There are many unlicensed “agents” outside of employment agencies that may recommend their own services. In order to avoid running into the law and suffering its wrath, you should look for professional maid agencies instead.

Secondly, there are many hidden costs of hiring a maid that may not be surfaced if you do not do your research properly. Maid agencies would be obligated to inform you of these costs and streamline the payment process for you so that payments are easy to track. This is important as failing to give certain payments such as the monthly levy would result in MOM taking action.

What is the difference between Transfer Maids and New Maids?

Transfer helpers are maids who have already been in Singapore for some time and have left their previous employers due to various reasons, such as employers subjecting them to bad treatment or employers’ dissatisfaction with their helpers.

New maids are maids coming in from their home countries and do not have experience working in Singapore. Most of the time, hiring a new maid is more expensive than hiring a transfer maid and most employers would prefer a transfer maid due to their experience and sometimes higher English-speaking abilities.

You may read more on this here.

Source Country

The approved source countries by MOM are the following:

  • Malaysia,
  • Philippines,
  • Indonesia,
  • Thailand,
  • Myanmar,
  • Sri Lanka,
  • India,
  • Bangladesh

… with the most common ones being Filipino, Indonesian and Myanmar maids.

Each nationality has its own strengths and weaknesses as seen from a trend observed by employers. These stereotypes are certainly 100% accurate, but they definitely help in streamlining your decision-making model. You may read more about the qualities of an Indonesian maid here.

The Costs & Process

There are many unseen costs of hiring a maid.

These include maid insurance plans, such as medical insurance for hospitalisation coverage and a six-monthly medical check-up she is required to go for. There are many maid insurance options to choose from. There is also a compulsory S$75 pre-employment medical examination.

Other additional costs include:

  • the placement fee,
  • any agency fees involved,
  • the monthly standard levy, also known as the domestic worker levy, that ranges from $60 to S$300,
  • a S$5000 security bond,
  • a S$35 – S$60 Work Permit application cost,
  • additional COVID-19 related costs (such as SHN), COVID-19 related medical expenses (S$2000)
  • airfare costs
  • general living expenses/living costs and miscellaneous costs

For a full explanation of all costs involved, it is best to seek out reliable maid employment agencies where their sales staff can thoroughly go through all the nooks and crannies of the maid application procedure and also inform you about any financial schemes you may be applicable for such as the grandchild scheme.

Monthly Maid Salary

The minimum salary rates for domestic helpers can vary according to their nationality and experience. A maid from the Philippines will have a different minimum pay as compared to a maid from Indonesia, and a maid with more experience will have higher pay.

NationalityAverage Monthly Salary
Myanmar Maids$450
Filipino Maids$570
Indonesian Maids$550

Note that a three-month (or longer) notice period is required for the maid’s resignation, or else she is liable to pay the salary in-lieu of notice.

The Process: Steps Involved in Maid Applications

Your Responsibilities and Duties as an Employer

1. Recognise Your Helper’s Rights

Your helper is entitled to 1 rest day per week, amounting to 4 days per month.

Many employers often have misconceptions regarding the usage of phones. Rules about phone usage can be set, but an employer must have their helper’s consent to take away their phone.

Employers must sign a safety agreement beforehand, in order to protect a foreign domestic worker from dangerous house chores such as cleaning the exterior of a window.

2. Manage Your Expectations 

It is essential to give ample time for your helper to adjust to the new environment, especially if it is her first time in Singapore. A little empathy goes a long way and helps establish a good employer – employee relationship.

Alternatives To A Full-Time Maid

For families who are under monetary or household constraints, it is a good idea to consider Part-Time Maids for their general cleaning services. A number of agencies do provide this service at an affordable price.

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