How Much Is The Real Cost To Hire a Maid in Singapore?

How Much Is The Real Cost To Hire a Maid in Singapore?

Hiring domestic help in Singapore is a fairly common practice.  In many dual-income families where both parents work long hours, domestic help is often employed to cope with household chores and with taking care of the kids and old folks.

If your life circumstances have changed and you’re considering hiring a domestic helper for your home, one of the first concerns you may have is the financial cost.

The helper’s salary is only one aspect of it, so read on to find out how much it really costs to hire a live-in domestic helper.domestic-maid

1. Helper’s Salary

The helper’s salary generally varies according to the number of years of experience, but expect to pay around S$500 and more.

On top of that, you will be responsible for meals, lodging, as well as medical and travel expenses.

2.  Levy

The foreign domestic worker levy is paid directly to the government. The normal monthly rate is S$265 and the concessionary rate is S$60. 

You qualify for the concessionary rate if you have young child or grandchild, and aged person, or a person with disability living at the same registered address with you.

Check if you meet the following conditions:

  • You or your spouse has a child or grandchild who is a Singaporean citizen below the age of 16 years old who is living at the same address.
  • You or your spouse is a Singaporean citizen aged 65 years or above, or you live with a parent or grandparent of that age in the same address.
  • You or a family member has a disability.

3. Agency Fee

Agency fees can vary greatly, depending on the services that are included in the fee.  Agencies don’t typically publish their prices but you can expect to pay about S$1000.

Be sure to enquire when you encounter very low maid agency fees to avoid any unethical operators.

4. Work Permit

The work permit application costs S$30 and you pay another S$30 when it’s successfully issued. This is renewable and is valid for up to two years.

5. Medical and Personal Accident Insurance

As the employer, you are responsible for buying insurance for your domestic helper.  The minimum coverage is as follows:

Medical Insurance: S$ 15,000

Personal Accident Insurance: S$40,000

Most insurance companies offer an insurance policy that covers both aspects with premium from around S$200 for 26 months.

There are also additional coverage options such as Waiver of Counter Indemnity, which limits the S$5000 bond liability imposed by the Ministry of Manpower to a significantly reduced amount (e.g. S$250), provided you’re not the one who breaches the bond.

6. Performance Bond

If you’re employing an Indonesian maid, hiring or renewing a contract will set you back a further S$70. This fee covers a performance bond of S$6,000, the full figure of which you’ll only need to pay if you breach the terms of employment.

The bond exists to protect Indonesian migrant workers by ensuring employers abide by the terms of employment contracts.

Similarly, if you’re employing a maid from the Philippines, you’ll need to pay about S$40 for a S$2,000 bond.

7. Medical Examination and Regular Checkups

The initial medical examination required to apply for a work permit costs about S$80.

Subsequently, domestic helpers are required to go for a medical checkup every month, and this ranges from $25-$45 depending on what is needed, as some tests are due only every two years.

8. Settling in Programme (SIP)

You will have to send your domestic helper to a Settling In Programme (SIP) upon arrival and this costs S$75.  The programme covers topics like employment conditions, safety and relationship and stress management.

9. Travel Expenses

You’re responsible for the airfare of your domestic helper, and this costs anywhere from S$200-S$600 depending on the time of the year. Get a credit card that gives you travel benefit and rewards to save you a couple of dollars as the travel expenses can be very costly. Beyond the financial costs

Beyond the Financial Costs

All in all, it’s easy to see that hiring a full-time domestic helper who lives in the family is a very significant financial investment.

Even if you’re willing to overlook the one-off costs like the agency fee, just the monthly outlay will be at least S$600.

In addition, a live-in domestic helper is having another member in the household, which means managing another relationship.

Communication breakdowns and cultural misunderstandings can be quite stressful for both sides, especially in the beginning.

Seeking Alternatives

If you don’t need somebody at home the whole day to care for a family member, then perhaps a part-time helper is all you need.  A part-time cleaner costs approximately S$16 an hour, and more on weekends. You also have to hire the cleaner for a minimum number of hours per session, usually three or four.

This will set you back about S$200 a month, that’s S$400 less every month minus the one-time fee. It doesn’t just save you money, but save you a lot of worries and hassle from hiring a full-time domestic helper.

In addition, should you need to reduce your expenses as quickly as possible, then it’s much easier to stop the weekly cleaning and do it yourself as opposed to getting out of a contract.

In addition, if all you want is just a lot less time spent on household chores, then perhaps efficient home appliances can be your answer.

For example, dishwashers and slow/pressure cookers reduce the amount of time you need to be hands-on with your cooking and cleaning.

Even running errands and grocery shopping can be simplified or outsourced with online shopping and concierge services.

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