How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Maid In Singapore In 2021?

Sarmistha Neogy
·7-min read

Singaporeans currently employ about 250,000 Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs). This means almost one in every five households have a maid to help with cooking, cleaning, caring for children and the elderly, and general housework. But their remuneration is not limited to a domestic helper Singapore salary.

As an employer, you spend more than just their monthly pay; and in the post-COVID era, these payments can account for more than your budget.

So before you decide to hire a maid, let us take you through the hiring and financial process, so you can make an informed decision.

How To Hire A Maid In Singapore

domestic helper singapore salary
domestic helper singapore salary

Image courtesy: iStock

You have the choice of hiring a maid either through an agency or directly. Bear in mind that the second option would be much cheaper and here are two ways of doing it.

1. Word of mouth: Spread the word that you are looking for a maid. Ask your friend, relatives, neighbours if they know someone. Recommendations can make your job easier and always check their background and previous employer’s review as well.

2. Online search: There are platforms like Searchmaid, Netmaid and others from where you can hire the services of maids. These platforms share details like age, nationality, work experience, and salary expectations.

You will also adhere to the criteria set forth by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for hiring a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW):

  • Hire should be 21-years-old and above

  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt

  • You should have the mental capacity to understand and discharge your responsibility as their employer

Now, when it comes to the domestic helper Singapore salary, it depends on factors such as their nationality and years of experience.

Domestic Helper Singapore Salary: Here’s What You Need To Know

domestic helper singapore salary
domestic helper singapore salary

The salary of a domestic worker depends on the nationality and also the years of experience (Photo courtesy: Pixabay)

1. Salary

A domestic helper Singapore salary depends on the country of origin of your maid. For instance, if the maid is from the Philippines, you can expect to pay a minimum salary of $570. On the other hand, if she is from Myanmar, expect to dish out around $450, and a FDW from Sri Lanka will charge $500. While one from Indonesia could charge upto $550.

All salary negotiations take place between the employer and the FDW. You will be able to negotiate more if your FDW comes with less experience.

FDW’s Years of Experience

FDW Monthly Salary

1 year

$500 to $620

2 to 5 years

$650 to $700

6 years and above

$700 to $975

Table Courtesy: Anisya (Copyright and credit to Anisya)

Besides Philippines and Myanmar, Singaporeans can also employ FDWs from Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea.

As per MOM rules, a FDW should be “From 23 to below 50 years old at the time of application.” Plus, those “aged 50 and above can only renew their work permits until they reach 60 years old.”

Estimated cost: $600

2. Maid levy charges

Another factor that comes into play while hiring a maid in Singapore is the maid levy charges. These are charges you have to pay to employe a FDW. The current maid levy in Singapore is $300 per month. For every subsequent FDW you hire, you’ll need to shell out $450.

If you qualify for a concessionary maid levy, the cost gets reduced to $60, as per MOM rules.

The concessionary rate will generally apply to families who have the following family members:

  • Child or grandchild below 16 years

  • A family member who needs help with at least one daily activity

You do not qualifying for maid levy concession when:

  • Child or grandchild turns 16 years old.

  • The person needing care (young child, aged or disabled family member) has passed away

  • The person needing care no longer stays with you

Estimated cost: $60 (with concession) or $300 (no concession)

3. Daily living expenses

Living expenses is another one of the unseen costs that often goes ignored. Remember, a full-time maid staying with you is like having an extra adult member at your home. So a rough estimate of utility, transport and grocery would come to around $200/month.

There will be times when you will go out with your friends and family. If you decide to take your domestic help as well, the cost will increase accordingly.

Estimated cost: $200/month

4. Security bond

When you employ a FDW you will also have to buy a security bond, unless the maid is Malaysian. This bond is like a pledge that holds you responsible if you or your maid break any work permit rules.

You must buy a $5,000 security bond for your helper from any bank or insurance company. You have to do so before your maid comes in to Singapore,

5. Salary adjustments

This is a good practice to follow to give your FDW an increment periodically. This will not only motivate her to work better, but it is also an acknowledgment for her good service. It is also advisable to start a gratuity for your maid so she can get that after her contract ends.

More importantly, ensure that you pay her the salary on time with a minimum relaxation of 7 day.

6. Insurance requirement

You will need to buy medical and personal accident insurance for your helper. This will give her a coverage of at least $15,000 per year for inpatient care and day surgery during your her stay in Singapore.

From Jan 1, 2021, employers will also need to buy additional medical insurance for the maid before her arrival. This is to cover any Covid-19 related medical expenses. This insurance should have a coverage of at least $10,000 for the workers’ medical expenses if they develop Covid-19 symptoms. Or test positive within 14 days of arriving in Singapore.

7. Lumpsum costs

There are also one-off expenses like insurance, airfare, medical screening, employment agency fee that will need to cater to. You can expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 for their services with an average of about $2,500. (This is inclusive of insurance, airfare and application fee for your FDW).

If this option exceeds your budget, then you can go for transfer maids. They are hired directly from their current employer here in Singapore. A typical transfer maid fee is around $500.

Remember that on account of the pandemic, the cost of hiring a maid has increased. So there are several factors that will now be added to the overall fee. For instance, even if you are not using an agency, you will still be required to pay for facilities that include COVID-19 tests. The airfares have also increased due to limited flight availability.

Estimated cost: $4,800 with additional Covid-19 related costs.

Criteria For The Maids That Apply For Employment

The maid that you hire has to be:

  • Female

  • Between 23 and 50 years of age, at the time of application

  • From Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Macau, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Myanmar, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Taiwan.

  • She should be unrelated to the employer

  • Employed at your home address as stated on your NRIC

  • Certified with at least eight years of formal education

  • Certified with the Settling-In-Programme if this is her first time seeking employment as a domestic worker in Singapore. (For new maids, SIP will be done when she arrives in Singapore)

To sum it up, you can expect to spend at least $24,000 over a period of two years. This includes the monthly recurring cost ($906 per month) and the one-off lumpsum amount (about $2,000). For your convenience and better planning, you should take the above as an estimate on the lower end.

While, we understand that hiring a maid in Singapore is expensive, but don’t forget to treat your maids with respect and love. Remember, they have left their own countries and are staying with you to serve you. MOM lists down clear guidelines like providing your helpers three meals a day and a day off to ensure fair treatment.

Whether you hire an FDW through an agency or directly, deciding on the amount you need to pay depends on the understanding between you and the helper. However, budgeting your domestic helper Singapore salary will surely help you plan better, especially in the middle of the pandemic.

Sources: Homees, MSIG, MOM

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