Singapore is one of the main countries in Southeast Asia that offers domestic help opportunities, along with Hong Kong. Not only is it one of the main regional hubs for professionals, it is also an ideal destination for domestic helpers because of the market.
There are various advantages for maids to work in Singapore, since the government pushes for their well-being and safety – and while the salary is similar to in Hong Kong, it’s higher than in the Middle East. Also, Singapore is not very far away from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, or other Asian countries – and flights are usually very cheap, so whenever there is an opportunity, helpers can go home to visit their family.
If you’re looking to hire a foreign domestic helper full time in Singapore, here is some advice you might want to consider to better understand the basic package and responsibilities.
During the Hiring Process
There are fees involved when hiring a helper whether you do it through an agency by yourself:
- Settling-In Programme (75 SGD): If you’re hiring a domestic helper that comes for the first time in Singapore, you need to pay a Settling-in Programme fee. This full-day course has to be taken by your maid in the first 3 days from arriving in Singapore as required by Immigration since the goal is to discuss living in Singapore.
- Work Permit: You also need to pay for the work permit application fee and the work permit issuance fee that costs 60 SGD together.
- Medical Insurance: You will also be required to purchase medical insurance coverage for your made with a minimum coverage of 15000 SGD as well as a personal accident insurance with a minimum coverage of 40000 SGD. The good news is that there are a lot of agencies and insurance companies that offer these type of insurances so you won’t have a difficult time finding one.
- Domestic Worker Levy: There is also a foreign domestic worker levy you need to pay for 265 SGD per month, which can be lowered down to 60 SGD with concessions. Lastly, a security deposit of 5000 SGD in banker’s guarantee or insurance form.
Overall, be prepared to spend between 500 and 2000 SGD upfront if you need to find and hire a maid in Singapore, again depending on whether you’re hiring through an agency or on your own.
Once you complete the hiring process, you now need to make sure that you’re paying your maid the right salary. Doing so promotes loyalty to you and a better chance of building a longer working relationship.
The minimum wage salaries of domestic helpers that come to Singapore are deemed by the countries they come from:
- Philippines: 550 SGD
- Indonesia: 500 SGD
- Myanmar: 450 SGD
- Sri Lanka: 400 SGD
If you feel like you found the right one, do not hesitate to offer a little bit more if you can afford it. The Ministry of Manpower of Singapore encourages salary adjustments and rewards, since workers who feel that they are being given more tend to be more hardworking and loyal because the money they earn is used to support their families back home.
Note that if you pay your domestic helper in cash, you need to create a record and both parties must sign it to prevent disputes.
The food and the accommodation
Aside from the salary, you also need to make a budget for food and lodging. If the maid stays full time with you and you have a maid’s room, it’s great. But if you don’t have one, you will have to shell out for lodging expenses as well. Some maids pool together with their fellow countrymen to rent out an apartment together. This brings the cost down exponentially.
As for food, you can decide whether to share the food that you have in the household with them or whether you give them a budget so they eat on their own. Take note that preparation will be done in the same kitchen though so it might be a little bit more cumbersome.
The annual leaves
It is also in the employment contract for maids that they can have annual leave, an opportunity to travel back home to see their family. However, if they do not use it, you are required to pay the salary for this extra time you get.
Many other countries have stricter rules and requirements for hiring foreign domestic helpers. In Singapore, however, it is easy enough to be done on your own – and there are a lot of reputable agencies that can help you find the best candidates as well.
Edouard Muller is a French entrepreneur working in Hong Kong. He is the founder of HelperPlace – a leading platform to find the right domestic help in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Middle East.