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Work, kids and managing a family can be overwhelming, and for one reason or another, you may feel the need for some extra help with the house chores and the kids. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released a report in 2018 indicating that there are over 250,000 domestic workers in Singapore, the majority of whom are foreigners. With such a huge number of domestic workers, you probably know a friend or two who already has a domestic worker.
While their services are necessary and will bring you some relief, hiring a domestic worker is a relatively long process. There are quite a number of upfront costs and fees to be incurred in the process prior to the actual salary. It is important to save up in advance for these costs so that you are not frustrated halfway through the process. In this blog, we break down all the costs you should be saving up for.
Agency Fees (S$800-S$2000)
Hiring through an agency is the most common way of hiring a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW). Agencies are great as they help you with most of the paperwork needed in the process. In exchange for all the help you will be getting, you should budget for between S$800 to S$2,000 for their services. The average agency charge is about S$1100. This agency fee will take care of Recruitment, Administrative, Entry test, and Airport Pickup service fees.
Employers Orientation Programme S$30 to S$46
It is a requirement by The Ministry of Manpower that first-time employers as well as employers, who hire Foreign Domestic workers regularly, attend the Employers Orientation Programme. This is a three-hour long training session where employers’ roles and responsibilities to FDWs are discussed. It is a requirement that one completes the programme at least two days before applying for a Work Permit. You can take the course at the National Employment Ltd for S$30, the Singapore Polytechnic for S$34.50 or online for S$46.
Work Permit (S$60)
Some agencies will take care of the Work Permit Application on your behalf. If your agency does not cover this, you will need S$60. S$30 for the Work Permit application and S$30 for the issuance of the work permit.
Settling-In Programme (S$75)
The Settling-In Programme (SIP) is specifically for first time FDWs. The SIP costs S$75 and the domestic worker is required to attend within the first three days of arrival and is only allowed to start working after the programme. The programme is designed to train the worker on safety at home, stress management and relationship management.
Security Bond S$5000
A S$5000 security bond is charged when hiring a Foreign Domestic Worker who is not Malaysian. This is a guarantee that as an employer you will respect the FDWs employment laws.
Performance Bond S$6000- S$7000
The security bond is paid to consulates of the worker; S7000 if they are from the Philippines and S$6000 if they are Indonesian. These bonds are a guarantee to the embassy that the employee will meet the required standards of employment.
Your employees’ helper insurance can guarantee the performance bond.
Initial Medical Assessment S$80
The initial Medical assessment report is needed during the application of a work permit and will cost you S$80. Other than these upfront fees, It is important that you save up for the following recurring costs.
Monthly Salary S$450- S$30570
The monthly salary of an FDW will vary depending on the nationality or country of origin of the domestic worker. Indonesian domestic workers are usually paid from S$550 while Filipino workers are usually paid from S$570. If you are hiring a domestic worker from Myanmar, their salaries usually start from as low as S$450. Salaries usually go up if the maid is experienced.
FDW Levy S$300- S$450
For Foreign Domestic Workers, employers do not have to pay the Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions; you will, however, need to pay the Foreign Worker Levy. The Ministry of Manpower put the FDW Levy in place so as to regulate the number of domestic workers in Singapore. The levy usually varies depending on whether you are a first-time FDW employer and so on. A first-time employer will pay S$300, if you hire a subsequent FDW you will pay S$450. If you are a qualified FDW employer, you will pay S$60 each month. To get the levy concession, you should be eligible under the young child/grandchild scheme, person with disabilities scheme or aged person scheme.
Maid Insurance S$250
FDW employers are required to have maid insurance. The lowest personal accident coverage is S$60,000 and medical insurance of at least S$15,000. The maid insurance premium that will meet these requirements will cost you S$250 every month for at least 26 months. This premium can vary depending on what else you choose to add to the cover.
Please note that FDWs are required to get a medical assessment every six months. They should be tested for pregnancy and syphilis every six months. She should be tested for HIV as well after every two years and tuberculosis once.
The cost of each of the above medical visits will vary depending on the facility she goes to as well as her medical cover. Generally, these medical check-ups are supposed to be paid the employer.
You are obligated as the employer to pay for the FDWs airfare back to her home country upon the termination of employment.
Food and Accommodation S$330
You are responsible for your help’s food and accommodation. You should give her extra money to buy food and toiletries if you do not cook or provide these basic necessities. This may cost you a total of S$300 every month
In total, it will cost you about S$2500 to hire a Foreign Domestic Worker. Keep in mind that this number does not include security deposits and performance bonds. After employment, the monthly expenses would be an average of S$1200, and that is if you factor in the minimum salary. Travel and Medical expenses will be as detailed above.
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Taking into consideration all the costs above, it is therefore important to save up and plan in advance for a foreign domestic worker. Most employers are usually budget for a salary only and are shocked by the extra charges they have to pay. These should however not be a problem if you save up in advance. Domestic workers are excellent additions to the family as they take charge of all the cleaning, cooking, and younger kids.