The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Maid Costs in Singapore for 2023

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Did you know that one in five households in Singapore hires a domestic helper? Due to the Ministry of Manpower’s mandate, a live-in household maid in Singapore is now referred to as a migrant domestic worker instead of a foreign domestic worker.

To date, the country employs more than 246,000 migrant domestic workers (MDWs). These domestic helpers take charge of cooking, cleaning, and looking after an elderly family member, a young child, or family members with disabilities.

But hiring a maid in Singapore entails responsibilities beyond paying their monthly salary. Here’s a look at the costs involved when hiring a domestic helper.

Ordinary Case: Salary

When it comes to the cost of maid Singapore, expect their salary to be the highest monthly recurring cost you’d have. Moreover, the minimum monthly salary you will pay for your domestic helper varies depending on which country they come from.

Here’s a look at the current minimum monthly salary domestic helpers in Singapore get:

  • Myanmar – $450
  • Sri Lanka – $497
  • Indonesia – $550
  • Philippines – $570

These are only samples of where many domestic helpers in Singapore come from. But you can also hire domestic workers from Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Macau, India, Hong Kong, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.

Take note that only MDWs with no prior experience will accept the maid’s salary stated above. If you request an experienced domestic helper from a maid agency, expect to pay additional costs and a higher maid salary.

While you can negotiate a maid salary to lower your expected monthly recurring costs, ensure that you remain sensible and sensitive to the needs of your domestic helpers. You must also consider the past experiences and recommendations of these domestic helpers, especially when hiring transfer maids.

Keep in mind that at the time of application, your migrant domestic worker must be between the ages of 23 and 50. Additionally, they must have completed at least eight years of formal education and hold a recognized diploma.

In general, you should plan to pay more than the minimum if you are hiring an experienced maid. The current average pay for a maid in Singapore is $597.

Additionally, the specialized talents of a foreign domestic worker are important. A domestic helper with expertise and training in providing care for the elderly might earn between $1,000 and $1,500 per month.

A domestic helper who has worked or is currently working in Singapore (transfer maid) typically costs extra to hire because of their expertise. They have been in demand since the emergence of pandemic-induced border restrictions that have curtailed the supply of new MDWs. Hiring a transfer maid now costs between $800 and $1,000.

Case Rules:

  • An estimated cost of $600 to $1500

Ordinary Case: Maid Levy Fees

The current maid levy in Singapore is $300 per month. This has been in effect since April 2019. And it costs $450 for the succeeding MDWs. The rate goes as low as $60 for those qualified for a maid levy concession.

Also, you can avail of the concessionary rate if you have family members who qualify for the following:

  • Requires help with one or more daily activities
  • Elderly member of the family aged 67 and above
  • Minors aged 16 and below

However, you will lose your eligibility for a maid levy concession when:

  • Your family member in need of care is not a Singapore citizen or doesn’t stay with you
  • Your family member in need of care, young, old, or disabled, has passed away
  • A child or grandchild in the family becomes older than 16

Case rules:

  • An average salary of $300 if not qualified for monthly levy concession and $60 if qualified for maid levy concession. There are special eligibility requirements to be careful of as well.

Ordinary Case: General Living Expenses

You must never disregard your living expenses when hiring a maid. When you hire a maid, it’s like having another adult living with you.

Expect all the bills you pay monthly to increase. Aside from the utilities, add the budget to other living expenses, such as public transit, gas, and groceries.

Additionally, other miscellaneous expenses could come up. For example, if dining out, prepare to pay for the other costs, like the transpo of a plus one person and the food they eat. Moreover, other employers pay for the phone bills and other daily living necessities of their domestic helper.

Case rules:

  • Additional $200 for living expenses or higher

Other recurring costs per month:

  • Monthly maid levy – $60
  • Domestic helper working even on rest days – ($46)
  • Minimum salary – $600

Ordinary Case: Medical Costs

It’s your responsibility as an employer to shoulder all medical costs of your domestic helper. These medical expenses include one-time expenses, such as cold, flu, or toothache treatment. You also need to pay for the fixed medical expenses included in maid insurance.

Additionally, MOM requires employers who hire a domestic helper in Singapore to purchase medical insurance. As an employer, you must ensure that medical insurance has a minimum coverage of $15,000 per annum.

This amount is enough to cover day surgery and inpatient care of your domestic helper. The minimum coverage of maid insurance is expected to rise to $60,000 in the coming months.

Moreover, you must get a personal accident maid insurance with at least $60,000 minimum coverage per annum for your domestic helper. The amount will cover any unexpected, unforeseen, or sudden incidents resulting in death or permanent disability.

So how much should you allocate for the health insurance of your domestic helper? Based on the quotes from different insurance companies, expect the payment to be around more or less $500. However, the price will likely increase over the months, depending on the rate of various medical charges.

Plus, you must also take note of MOM’s mandate to send your domestic helper for a medical screening called 6ME every six months. So you can also list the expenses every six months as part of the recurring costs when hiring a domestic helper.

Your domestic helper must undergo this medical screening without your presence. The medical exam will assess your domestic helper if they have any signs of abuse or if they have incurred permanent disability due to their job. The processes for this can be done on MOM’s FDW portal

Case rules:

  • An estimated cost of $580 or higher

Ordinary Case: Fixed Costs / Fares + placement fees

Aside from medical obligations, personal accident insurance, combined agency fees, and other costs, you must also plan for the one-time costs you need to shoulder when hiring a domestic helper. These one-off costs include work permit application fees, security bond, employment agency fees, pre-employment medical examination, placement fee, airfare costs, and public transportation costs incurred.

If you have no experience in hiring a maid, it is best to rely on the services of a reputable maid agency. Most maid agencies can walk you through the process, whether you want to hire a fresh domestic helper or hire transfer maids.

What’s more, a good maid agency can help you find the right person suited for your needs. It will assist you from start to finish with hiring a maid.

Moreover, a maid agency will process documents, such as work permit, placement fee, service fees, and other additional costs. These maid agencies charge according to the ongoing Singapore costs and rates. But typically, these maid agencies require about $3000 to process all the essential requirements when hiring a maid.

On the other hand, you can opt to hire a transfer maid to make the total cost of hiring lower. Maid transfer means you will hire a maid already working for another household in Singapore.

This will require a lower cost of hiring than having a domestic helper fly in from another country. In this case, look into the transfer’s jurisdiction and ensure everything is secure before sealing any deal.

Placement Fee

Many maid agency fees include placement fee or maid loan. Essentially, you are lending this money to the maid agency on the maid’s behalf. Consider this the fee the agency receives from the maid so they can work in Singapore.

Since the loan will be repaid through deductions from the maid’s wages in the first few months, the placement fee is not included in your expenses.

A placement fee of more than two months of the maid’s income is levied by some maid agencies. This is prohibited, and as a responsible employer, you must be aware that your potential domestic helper should not be paying Singapore maid agency more than two months’ worth of wages as a placement fee.

Case rules:

  • Around $3000 or more (for maid agency fees, placement fee, personal accident insurance, security bond, work permit, and more)
  • The placement fee depends on the country the maid comes from. But since it will be deducted from their salary, it’s technically not part of your monthly expenses.

Surprise Cases: Working on Rest days / Public Holidays

Your housekeeper is entitled to a rest day or two per week or four to eight days per month. If your housekeeper consents to work on their rest day, you must pay them at least one day’s income or give a substitute rest day within the same month.

For instance, if your housekeeper only takes two days off each month and works the other two, you should pay them two extra days’ worth for the month.

MOM has implemented a mandatory one rest day per month for domestic helpers, which is non-negotiable. This is intended to promote the well-being of MDWs.

Case rules:

  • Compute the maid’s monthly salary divided by 26 days and multiplied by 2

Surprise Cases: COVID Costs

Costs may increase due to additional COVID-19 travel limitations, safety precautions, and administrative and coordinating labor. There aren’t any sizable extra expenses now that the restrictions have been removed.

All pass holders entering Singapore no longer require entry authorization as of August 29, 2022. However, the approval of work passes still calls for the COVID-19 vaccination. Serology testing is required for abroad vaccination records or a digitally verifiable vaccination certificate (DVC), which can be confirmed at a local facility.

Total Cost Review

Here’s a rundown of the total cost you must prepare for when hiring a domestic worker for two years or more:

  • At least $1000 per month or $24,000 for a 2-year contract. This is a low-end estimate, so it is best to expect more.
  • Additional expenses may come up after the contract. For one, you need to buy the maid a one-way ticket home if you decide not to renew or extend their services.
  • You also have to pay for a security bond, the price of which depends on the nationality of your maid.

To make the process easier and to help you decide what kind of domestic worker you need, you can rely on the services of RC Caregivers to find caregivers for the elderly. With several years of experience, we can find the right person that suits the qualifications you’re looking for. However, for those who are willing to pay for more security in the form of an employment agency fee, you may consider coming to us as well, with trusted agency partners who have helped many families in Singapore hire their Filipino maids in Singapore.

Joshua is the founder of RC Caregivers. Having been the primary caregiver of his father, he has been undertaking ways to provide affordable and quality care, not just to his father, but to all elderly in Singapore. He has founded multiple care companies, such as Red Crowns Senior Living, and has been featured in Straits Times, Zaobao and Money 93FM. He has also been lauded by DBS, with the company being the recipient of the DBS foundation grant.
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