Did you know one in six Singaporean households currently employ a foreign domestic worker (FDW)? It’s hardly surprising what with most of us having to take care of young children or elderly parents while working. While a little extra help is always welcomed, it does not come cheap. Find out how much hiring a maid costs before you start looking for one.
What are the typical fees involved?
The most obvious expense would be your FDW’s salary, but there are also other compulsory fees such as the levy, security deposit, and maid insurance to consider on top of that. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
This will likely form the bulk of the expenses and usually varies between S$500 to S$700 depending on the nationality and experience of your maid.
While the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) does not stipulate what the FDWs’ minimum salary should be, most sending countries do, as listed below:
|Minimum Monthly Salary|
In reality, these figures are likely to be higher, especially if you are looking for a maid who has experience working in Singapore and is reasonably proficient in English.
Besides their salary, employers will also have to pay a monthly foreign worker levy of S$300 (for the first maid), S$450 (for subsequent maids) or the concessionary rate of S$60. The levy ends when the Work Permit is cancelled or expired.
You are eligible for the levy concession if you live with a Singapore citizen who is:
- A young child below 16 years old;
- An elderly person who is at least 67 years old; or
- A person with disabilities (PWD) that requires help with at least 1 activity of daily living (ADL)
The levy concession for one FDW is granted based on one eligible person in the household and is capped at two FDWs per household.
3. Maid insurance
Employers are required by law to purchase medical insurance for their maids with coverage of at least S$15,000 per year for hospitalisation and day surgery as well as personal accident insurance with a sum assured of at least $60,000 per year that covers sudden or unforeseen accidents resulting in permanent disability or death.
Arguably the most affordable maid protection plan available in Singapore, ePROTECT maid from Tiq by Etiqa currently offers the required coverage with premiums starting from just S$139 for a 14-month plan.
4. Security deposit
For every maid that you employ, MOM requires you to buy a S$5,000 security bond (unless she is a Malaysian) that safeguards against your helper breaking the law or violating their work permit conditions. This should be bought before your helper arrives and can sometimes be purchased together with maid insurance.
For instance, ePROTECT maid includes a Letter of Guarantee (the security bond) to MOM so you don’t have to fork out an additional S$5,000 in cash.
#TiqOurWord Limit your liability with Security Bond Protector, an optional add-on for ePROTECT maid that reduces your liability to just S$250 instead of S$5,000 if the security bond is breached.
5. Other administrative costs
Besides the obvious expenses listed above, there are also a slew of miscellaneous fees that would add on to the total cost:
Employee Orientation Program (EOP) for new employers
|S$35 for online course and S$35 to S$60 for in-person course|
Settling-In Programme (SIP) for non-Malaysian FDWs working in Singapore for the first time
|Work permit application and issuance|
S$70 in total
|Around S$80 for pre-employment medical examination for new FDWs;|
S$40 for 6ME test (required every six months)
|Airfare||S$100 to S$400|
Should you decide to engage an agency for the added convenience, prepare to pay an additional S$800 to S$2,000 or even more in fees.
Other costs to consider
When you hire a maid, you are also paying for their living expenses, which includes food, transport, utilities, and accommodation. This could easily come up to about S$100 to S$200 a month.
Every FDW is entitled to one rest day per week and they should be compensated accordingly if they agree to forgo their rest day. To calculate the daily salary, take the monthly salary divided by 26 days.
A cost that people often fail to consider is their helper’s medical bills, which employers are responsible for. Take the recent case of a couple who have turned to fund-raising to raise money for their maid’s estimated hospital fees of S$200,000 after she landed in the ICU after an accident at Pulau Ubin.
This is why it is important to get a comprehensive maid insurance that helps defray potential costs in the unfortunate event that something happens to your helper.
#TiqOurWord With ePROTECT maid, you can add on critical illness coverage (from S$5,000 to S$20,000) and top-up the hospitalisation and surgical coverage (up to an additional S$25,000) for greater peace of mind!
If you are bringing an FDW from overseas into Singapore during this period, you would also have to factor in additional costs brought on by COVID-19, such as the FDW’s stay at the dedicated SHN facility and COVID-19 test, which amounts to approximately S$1,700.
How can you save on fees?
If you have a FDW candidate in mind, you can save on fees by hiring your maid directly instead of going through an agency. This not only saves you the agency fee but also saves your maid from the dreaded placement fee (up to two months of their salary) that some maid agencies in Singapore charge.
Another way to save on fees is to look for a transfer maid instead of hiring one from overseas you can then save on airfare, SIP fees and COVID-19 related costs. A transfer maid would also have had the experience of working in Singapore and would require less time and effort to adjust. Find out more here with a step by step guide on maid transfers.
Another avenue that allows you to save in the long run is getting the right maid insurance that covers your needs on top of MOM’s regulations. For instance, ePROTECT maid insurance not only offers a daily recuperation benefit but also an alternative maid services benefit that helps you hire alternative support if your maid gets hospitalised.
Ultimately, the costs associated with hiring a maid can add up easily. Despite it being a growing necessity for Singaporean families, it is best to understand the budget involved before deciding if a full-time maid is the best option for your household. And if you eventually decide to hire a maid, gettingthe right protection like ePROTECT maid can help make a potentially stressful situation much more peaceful for the both of you.
Information is accurate as at 28 October 2020. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
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