Did you know one in every six Singaporean households employs a foreign domestic worker (FDW)? It’s not surprising, given that most of us have to care for young children or elderly parents while working. While a little extra help is always welcome, it does not come cheap. Before you hire a maid, find out how much it costs.
What are the typical fees involved?
The most obvious expense is your FDW’s salary, but there are also other mandatory fees to consider, such as the levy, security deposit, and maid insurance. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
This will most likely constitute the majority of your expenses and will typically range between S$500 and S$700 depending on the nationality and experience of your maid.
While the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) does not specify a minimum wage for FDWs, most sending countries do, as listed below:
|Country||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.
Employers must 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 in addition to their salary. When the Work Permit is cancelled or expired, the levy is terminated.
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.
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, Tiq Maid Insurance currently offers the required coverage with premiums starting from just S$139 for a 14-month plan.
4. Security deposit
MOM requires you to purchase a S$5,000 security bond for each maid you hire (unless she is Malaysian) to protect against your helper breaking the law or violating the terms of their work permit. This should be purchased before your helper arrives and is sometimes purchased alongside maid insurance.
For instance, Tiq Maid Insurance 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 Tiq Maid Insurance 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||S$75|
|Work permit application and issuance||S$70 in total|
|Medical examination||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|
If you decide to use an agency for convenience, expect to pay an additional S$800 to S$2,000 or more in fees.
Find out the differences in hiring and renewing maid through agency vs transfer maid here.
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 case of a couple who have turned to fundraising 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 Tiq Maid Insurance, 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! We’ve also newly added an infectious disease cover!
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, Tiq 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, getting the right protection like Tiq Maid Insurance can help make a potentially stressful situation much more peaceful for the both of you.
Information is accurate as at 22 February 2023. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
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