For those who are considering hiring a foreign domestic helper, we have put together a list of basic costs:
1. Initial Costs
A. Agency Fee or service fee (varies)
Agency fees vary base on nationalities of the helper, and whether they are transfer/ new, and experienced / inexperienced. We charge employers a service fee of $268.00. This includes the work for employment contracts, application, and issuance of work permit.
B. Medical Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance and Security Bond
Singapore government has made it compulsory for the employer to buy a medical insurance and a personal accident insurance for your foreign domestic helper throughout her stay in Singapore. The current minimum coverage required is $15,000 for medical insurance, and $40,000 for personal accident insurance.
Medical insurance provides coverage for hospitalisation and surgical expenses. Personal insurance insures against accidental death and permanent disability, and provides a lump sum compensation to your helper or her beneficiaries if such unfortunate events happen during her stay in Singapore.
All employers of foreign domestic helpers need to have a $5000 security bond with the work pass division of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This is to ensure employers of foreign domestic helpers adhere to the rules and regulations stipulated by MOM. If your foreign domestic worker disappears, or is pregnant and you fail to repatriate her, or you did not pay your helper her salary, your $5000 deposit may or will be forfeited. The bond can be in the form of a Banker’s Guarantee or Insurance.
You don’t have to come up with the full $5000 to deposit with MOM. You can purchase a security bond insurance, where you only need to pay for the premium. However, if you or your helper breaches the employment conditions, MOM will demand payment of the $5000, which your insurer will pay first and collect from you later. You can also purchase an additional waiver of indemnity when you first take up the security bond insurance, where in such case, you only pay the excess of about $250, and the insurer will pay the remaining $4750 if the breach is not due to your fault or negligence.
Our helper insurance combines the minimum medical and personal accident insurance and the security bond. This plan cost about $250-$260 for 26 months. You can also choose to purchase additional medical (hospitalisation and surgical expenses) in increments of $5k coverage.
C. Performance Bond
For Filipino helpers only (does not apply to helpers of other nationality)
If you are hiring a helper from the Philippines, the Philippines Embassy in Singapore requires a $7000 performance bond from you. This is to protect their Filipino household service workers (domestic worker), so that employers will not breach the terms and conditions of the employment contract between the employer and the helper. This Performance Bond is also needed to register your helper with the Philippines Embassy so that she can renew her passport or purchase an Overseas Exit Certificate (OEC – for her to enter and exit Philippines for home leave. This Performance Bond can be purchased from our insurer, and cost about $72-$80 for 26 months.
D. Placement Fee
This may range from 2 months of salary onwards, depending on how much your foreign domestic worker’s loan is. You can deduct some of the placement fee from the maid’s monthly salary. For helpers.sg, we do not charge helpers any placement fee or loans.
E. Settling-in-Programme (SIP)
Settling-in-Programme (SIP) is a compulsory orientation and safety course which all foreign domestic workers who are working in Singapore for the first time must attend. Employers must pay the $75 SIP fee for their foreign domestic workers, and this fee cannot be collected from them.
F. Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP)
If you are hiring helper for the first time, you need to attend the Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP) and pass the exam, unless you have valid reason that you cannot attend. The EOP cost $28 or $30.
2. Monthly Costs
• Indonesian helper: $500 and above
• Filipino helper: $550 (US$400) and above
• Myanmar helper: $450 and above
B. Foreign Domestic Worker Levy
You need a pay the government a foreign domestic worker levy of $265 (without concession) or $60 (with concession) every month through GIRO.
Since 1 May 2015, the foreign domestic workers levy for families with dependent were lowered to $60 from $120. Families with children below age 16, (up from age 12 previously), elderly parents or family members with disability are able to enjoy this concession.
If you meet condition for concession of foreign domestic worker levy, you only need to pay $60 monthly. You can read this under the common question below for the conditions for the foreign domestic worker levy concession.
C. Upkeep and lodging
You have to provide food, lodging and basic necessities like bed and bedding, privacy and a rest place for your helper.
3. Other Costs
A. Medical expenses
As an employer, you have to pay all medical expenses (except cosmetic expenses) of your helper. This is on top of the medical and personal accident insurance that you have to buy for your helper.
You need to pay for all associated costs of sending your helper home upon the cancellation of her work permit. This include an air-ticket to the airport nearest to her hometown in her home country, and check-in luggage allowance. A one-way ticket with baggage is about $150, depending on her hometown. It would be more expensive if she is flying back on a weekend or the closer you booked to her departure date.
C. Home Leave
For Filipino helpers only
The Philippine Embassy requires an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for all Filipino foreign domestic helpers. Under the POEA Rules and Regulations to help ensure that Filipino overseas workers (OFW) are properly documented and protected. This OEC in turn, entails Filipino domestic helpers to sign an employment contract which needs to be authenticated by the Philippines consular.
D. Passport Renewal
The Embassy of Indonesia makes it a rule for employers of Indonesian helpers to pay for all their passport renewal fees. Although there is no such rule for maids of other nationalities, some employers choose to pay for their maids’ passport renewal fees.
Common Questions about the Cost of Hiring a Foreign Domestic Helper
Question 1: How do I know if I am eligible for the foreign domestic worker levy concession?
Answer: The employer is eligible for the levy concession if he or she satisfies one of the conditions stated below:
• the employer or spouse has a Singapore citizen child or grandchild below 16 years old living at the same address; or
• the employer or spouse is a Singapore citizen aged 65 and above; or
• the employer or spouse is a Singapore citizen and the other party is a Singapore Permanent Resident aged 65 years old or above and both are living together.
• the employer or spouse has a parent or parent-in-law, grandparent or grandparent-in-law who is a Singaporean aged 65 or above and is living together with the employer or
• the employer is a Singapore Citizen and has a parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandparent-in-law who is a Singapore Permanent Resident aged 65 years old or above. The parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law must live with the employer.
Question 2: Can I claim tax relief for maid levy?
Answer: You can claim tax relief if you meet the following conditions:
• You are a married woman and has elected for separate assessment; or
• You are married and your husband is not resident in Singapore; or
• You are separated or divorced or widowed and living with your unmarried child for whom you can claim child relief
Question 3: If my domestic helper needs to return to her home country before her contract expires, do I need to pay her return air ticket?
Answer: Yes. You are responsible for the helper’s return air ticket, unless you have certain different agreement with your employment agency.
Question 4: Do I need to pay for the renewal of my helper’s passport?
Answer: This depends on the nationality of the maid. For maids from Indonesia, the Embassy of Indonesia makes compulsory that the employer needs to pay for all the fee relating to passport renewal.
In general, many employers choose to pay for all the relevant costs associated with the passport renewal.