In this day and age, hiring a maid in Singapore has become more of a necessity than a luxury. Beyond just depicting a raised standard of living, it now entails freeing up your time and spending it on things of better value like family, friends, and attractive opportunities.
Keeping your household in order is often quite a challenge due to a demanding career, family responsibilities, and social commitments. Yet, we all know that a clean, organized, and healthy home is a crucial aspect of quality life. With this, getting a helper is the wisest decision to make.
So if you find yourself in this familiar situation, read further and know everything you need in hiring a maid in Singapore.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Maid
An extra pair of hands to help with household chores is a relief to many families in Singapore. However, there are many things to consider before doing so. We’ve listed some of the general pros and cons of getting a maid in Singapore.
Let’s start with the Pros:
You will have the assurance of a consistently clean and organized home.
Having a maid means that you will always come home to a clean environment. With the help of a maid, you will have a more enjoyable life, free from germs and other potential health hazards. Plus, you’ll always have a visitor-friendly home, so no sudden friend or relative visits will stress you out anymore.
You’ll be able to reclaim your free time
Household chores like cleaning, laundry, and cooking can eat up so much time. And, many have put their social life on hold just to take care of these home chores. But when you hire a maid, you’ll have time to reclaim your free time and spend time with family and friends. You’ll also have more time to do your hobbies and other things that please you.
They could also play a significant role in taking care of the kids and elderly family members.
You can task your maid to look out for elderly family members and even children. Delegating this task can be essentially helpful when your office requires you to go for corporate business trips. Having someone to take care of your loved ones while you are out can bring peace of mind and comfort.
They are trained to be experts at housekeeping.
Most of the time, something more critical gets in the way of cleaning, and chores pile up over time. And with lack of attention, dirty nooks get even messier and harder to clean. When you hire a maid, you will be comforted knowing that they can efficiently clean hard-to-clean spots like the kitchen and bathroom.
Now, let’s see some potential drawbacks or Cons:
You may go through an adjustment period.
When you pay for help, you expect to pay for a service set to your standards. Yet, it may take a bit of an adjustment period for both parties. It may also take time for the helper to familiarize her chores and routines. Additionally, high expectations could lead to dismay if your maid cannot do things the way you want.
So, make sure to employ from a reputable agency where maids are trained to provide excellent housekeeping services.
It may take time for you to trust your maid.
A maid is a stranger to you at first, and it would take a certain amount of time to build trust. You should employ someone highly recommended by friends and family or a trusted agency. This way, you get to work in peace, knowing that your belongings and your family are safe.
A stay-in maid will mean additional space and cost on your living expenses.
In hiring a maid, you need to have an extra room for them to use. You also have to include them in your meals, groceries and provide for their basic needs. Monthly recurring costs will also include utilities, overtime pay, and levy.
If you are sourcing someone from an agency, you will also have to pay a fee that provides for medical costs, maid insurance, and other government requirements.
There could be some occasional or unwanted disputes.
Disputes may arise from having cultural and religious differences and language barriers. These can not be avoided entirely, especially when employing someone from a different country.
Yet, there are some things that you may do to prevent these and build an ideal employee-employer relationship. Proper communication, setting reasonable expectations, and making them feel included are excellent ways to start.
What To Consider Before Hiring a Maid
Domestic employment has become an important part of Singapore’s society. As years go by, the term maid has also evolved to a better-dignified career. In Singapore, they are commonly referred to as foreign domestic workers (FDWs) or migrant domestic workers (MDWs). In this section, we will more often refer to them as the latter for consistency.
There are many other factors that a responsible employer should consider before hiring a migrant domestic worker (MDW). These factors are essential for the welfare of both the employer and the worker. So before making that big decision, we’ve listed four crucial ones below for you:
We have already mentioned that one needs to be financially capable before hiring a maid in Singapore. Here are the particular requirements to hire a migrant domestic worker (MDW). To be eligible, one should:
- Be 21 years old and above
- Have the mental capacity (not diagnosed with mental conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, etc.) to understand your responsibilities as an employer fully.
- Not be going through bankruptcy at the time of application.
Additionally, you should be financially able to maintain the safety and well-being of the helper in an acceptable in-house accommodation.
2. Hiring and Application Process and Other Legal Considerations
Employing an MDW will involve many processes and legal requirements. Thus, as an employer, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations to avoid future problems.
For First Time Employers
If you are hiring for the first time, you must attend a 3-hour Employer Orientation Program. A new employer either listens online at a fee of S$46 or in a classroom for S$30+. This program will help you understand your role as an employer of an MDW.
Additionally, if you employ a first-time domestic worker in Singapore, you will have to pay for their settling-in programme (SIP).
Employing more than one Domestic Helper
Your application will be considered based on having young children and the elderly in the household. Again, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will need to evaluate your financial capability for an additional helper.
Buying a Security Bond for your Maid
You should buy a security bond of S$5000 for each helper, except if you employ Malaysian helpers. These bonds can be purchased from banks and insurers and is a binding pledge to pay the government should you or your helper break the law or the conditions stated in the work permit.
Here are the steps to complete:
- Buy a security bond and personal and medical insurance for your helper. Note that you can also buy these separately.
- Wait for the insurer to send bond details. This process may take up to three working days.
- Check the security bond status here.
- Log in here, print a copy of the security bond acknowledgment letter, and send one to your helper.
Buying Personal and Medical Insurance for Helper
Since a foreign domestic worker (FDW) is not covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act, Singapore employers must get medical and personal insurance for their workers.
Your helper should be covered for a sum assured of at least S$60,000 per year and S$15,000 inpatient care. The insurance should also cover at least S$10,000 should they test positive for Covid19 14 days upon arrival to Singapore.
You are also required to shoulder medical expenses and a mandatory twice-a-year medical check-up.
You should pay your domestic helper a fair salary agreeable to both parties. While there is no fixed rate, the compensation could depend on the country of origin of the domestic helper. Check the table below for sample rates:
The maid’s salary may also depend on the domestic helper’s years of experience in the industry. Many appreciative Singaporeans would also pay higher at S$600+ than those stated in the table above.
Your helper is entitled to a weekly rest-day or four day-offs every month. You must pay her the day’s salary equivalent if you need to let them work on a scheduled day-off.
In line with the Covid19 situation, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) launched the Safe Rest Day initiative. In this initiative, the employer’s responsibility is to inform the foreign domestic worker (FDW) of their rest day schedules. These rest days will be staggered to mitigate the risks of being exposed to Covid19.
MOM could also require employment agencies to check in on their foreign domestic workers during employment. Thus, from time to time, MOM may closely monitor rest days, accommodations, and other matters of concern.
The MDW is only allowed to work for the specified occupation and employer indicated in their work permit card. The work permit generally lasts for two years only. Yet, it is also subject to the validity of the MDW’s passport, security bond, and employment period, whichever is shorter. Click here for more detailed information on work permit conditions.
In Singapore, only women are allowed to work as foreign domestic helpers and with ages ranging from 23 to 50 years old. First-time workers need to be certified under the settling-in-programme and must only come from approved source countries which include:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
Should you need more information, click here for a complete checklist before hiring an MDW.
Costs of Hiring a Maid
Employing a maid comes at a high cost. This section will show a quick view of all the expenses an employer will incur if they decide to hire a maid.
1. Recurring Costs – These will include the monthly costs to be shouldered by the employer.
|Particular Cost||Amount (Estimates) per month|
|Groceries / Food Allowance||S$120|
|Utilities and Transportation||S$80|
|Overtime (work on rest-day)||S$46 (2 rest days)|
Note: For a household that qualifies for concessionary levy, maid levy will be reduced to S$60. To qualify, the employer should have
- A child/grandchild below 16 years old
- An elderly family member aged 67 years old and above
- Caring for a family member needing help with at least one activity
2. One-off Lump Sum Costs
One-off costs include the placement fee, agency fee, medical insurance, and application fees. Most maid agencies charge between S$1000 to S$3000 as a fixed cost for their services. You will also incur additional costs concerning the Covid19 situation. These costs will include PCR tests and accommodation on quarantine (hotel or dedicated facilities).
Local Hiring Vs. Maid Agencies
As an employer, you have both options of hiring a domestic worker from an agency or locally through maid transfer. While many employers find it more convenient to hire from maid agencies; those on a tighter budget would prefer to hide a transfer maid.
Let’s make a quick comparison of the likely fees:
|Fees||Local Hiring (Maid Transfer)||Agency (New Overseas Hire)|
|Agency Fee||none||S$1K to S$3K|
(Depends on home country)
(For first-time workers)
|Work Permit Application and Issuance||S$70||S$70|
PCR and Serology
14-day quarantine accommodation
PCR after 14 days
|Domestic Worker’s Insurance
(covering two years)
Note: Total cost may be higher as some fees such as agency fee, placement fee, and accommodation fee for quarantine accommodation may vary or may be higher.
As seen in the table above, getting a transfer maid may come with lower costs. And employing someone who will need to fly from their home country will cost more. On top of this cost are Covid19-related expenses. These costs depend on the countries where domestic helpers will be coming from.
When you hire through employment agencies, you will also shoulder the placement fee of these overseas workers. Also known as a maid loan, the employer pays for this cost on behalf of the domestic helper. This amount covers pre-employment expenses like training and medical examination fees.
3 Best Maid Agencies in Singapore
Hiring a maid involves a ton of paperwork and legwork, and agencies are experts at it. The maid-hunting process will also be smoother because most maid agencies have an extensive database of domestic helpers. So, in case you should choose to employ through maid agencies, we’ve curated some of the best and most reliable ones in Singapore to consider.
1. Maid Power – Best in Personalized Maid Services
Maid Power started in 1984, and since then, it has been providing suitable domestic workers to many families. They offer in-person consultation and offer their best to provide a personalized service that will fit the employer’s needs. Maid Power also ensures that maids coming from their maid agency are honest and reliable.
Other essential maid services are passport renewals, work permit renewal or cancellation, and home leave processing.
2. Universal Employment Agency Pte Ltd – Best for Experienced Transfer Maids
Some employers prefer to employ someone locally like a transfer maid. The reason is that they want someone who already has adapted to life in Singapore may be a better option for them. If this is you? Then, Universal Employment Agency is the best maid service provider for you.
They have been in the business since 1986 and have been working with various domestic workers from multiple countries. They are dedicated to delivering their services with the highest success rate and probably the best match.
They specialize in providing for Transfer Maids, Maids for Childcare, Direct Hire, and many more.
3. Cinderella – Best for Child and Elderly Care
Since 2013, Cinderella has served the community by providing well-trained foreign domestic workers. The maid agency has a comprehensive registry of workers with extensive experience in Child and Elderly Care, Cooking, and Housekeeping.
If you have challenging caregiving needs and have elders and children to care for, then they could be the right maid agency for you.
Any potential maid undergoes rigid training with the maid agency to provide the best domestic helper to clients. On the other hand, clients undergo careful screening to provide a successful match with a potential domestic helper.
Everybody wants a clean and tidy home, yet not everyone has the time to focus on home chores. So, it’s good that domestic workers are readily available to serve families in Singapore. Time is precious; hire help now and do more things you love.
- Hiring a maid doesn’t just guarantee a clean house but peace of mind and better well-being.
- Maids or domestic workers deserve to be treated with respect because of their massive role in the household they serve.
- Build a good give-and-take relationship with them by paying their salaries on time, providing rest days, and providing necessities like food.
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