Living in a cosmopolitan city such as Singapore doesn’t quite paint a picture of domesticated life, most especially when living conditions equally demand more time and effort from both parents to earn a living for the family. With this in mind, many parents (both locals and expats) consider getting domestic helpers to take care of the housework and to look after the children while they attend to their respective jobs.
Here we share some information and a guide to understanding the things that you should know when hiring a maid/house help in SG.
What You Need to Know when Getting a Helper in Singapore
Employers can get part-time helpers for around $10 to $20 per hour in Singapore. Helpers can be hired directly or through agencies. In-house helpers are paid around $400 to $750 on a monthly basis, depending on their work experience. The Singapore government also requires employers to pay a monthly levy of $265, as well as a one-time security fee of $5,000 (which you don’t need to pay upfront since this is covered by the maid insurance plan). Working mothers get a tax deduction from their monthly helper’s levy. Moreover, if your helper has been out of the country for more than seven days, you can apply for those days to be waived from your monthly levy.
2. Hiring Process
As mentioned, employers can acquire a maid through a maid agency for around $400 and will be given the chance to interview a couple of them. Otherwise, employers can also directly source their helper through the MOM homepage online. Also, when expats are leaving the country, some of them help their maid find work by posting ads on Facebook pages or through online notification boards, and direct referrals. However, be careful when you get hard-selling referrals from other employers because they might just be sugar-coating their experience with their helper to “move them on”.
3. Employer Responsibilities
As an employer, you need to understand your responsibilities before hiring a helper for your household. In Singapore, employers are expected to provide for their maid’s accommodation, food, insurance and medical care. Aside from the basics, employers also need to shoulder hiring taxes and fees, airfares for their helper’s bi-annual leave in their home country, transfer fees and annual incentive/s. To help first-time employers understand their duties and responsibilities, they will be required to undergo the Employer’s Orientation Program which covers everything they need to know about their responsibilities to their house helper/s. The orientation program can be attended in person for a $30 fee or can be taken online through a three-hour training session for a fee of $40. To learn more, you can head over to www.mom.gov.sg for additional details.
4. Holidays and Vacations
In order to avoid having instances of helpers being overworked by their employers, the Ministry of Manpower required all employers to give helpers at least one day off in a week. Should helpers be asked to work during their day-off, they need to be paid fair compensation for the additional day’s work. It’s good to note that most employers in Singapore follow this rule, plus they give public holidays off to their helpers, as well.
While getting a maid can surely ease some of your responsibilities at home, it’s also important to understand your responsibilities to them as an employer. There are certain laws and regulations in Singapore to ensure that both parties are secured and protected from abuse. If you are planning to hire a helper either through an agency or directly through the MOM portal, it’s highly advisable to interview them first so that you have a better idea of their strengths, skills, work background, expectations and level of experience to match your needs as a family.