Average Cost of Hiring Domestic Help in Singapore

As Singapore's workforce is increasing, hiring full-time and part-time domestic help is becoming more popular. Families have begun to turn to outside help to take care of their children and elderly relatives, hoping it can ease some of their daily responsibilities. However, with so much cost associated with hiring a maid, it can be difficult to gauge how much of your salary will be set aside for this endeavour. Below, we have broken down what you should expect to pay when hiring and maintaining employment of your domestic worker.

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Average Cost of a Full-Time Maid

As a first-time employer, the average yearly cost for hiring a full-time maid is S$13,797.42, including one-time fees. This makes hiring a foreign maid quite costly, even though in some circumstances it may simply be unavoidable. In addition to monthly expenses like salary, medical costs, food, and other necessities, you will also be responsible for paying for permits, administrative fees, insurance and your maid's assimilation.

One-Time FeesS$1,421.12
Total Annual Recurring CostsS$12,496.29

Average One-Time Fees

For onboarding and hiring a new maid, you can expect to pay an average of S$1,421.12. This includes paying for maid agency fees (if you are hiring from an agency), work permit application/processing fees, medical examination fees, Employer's orientation and the Settling-In Programme. If your maid will be taking care of infants or the elderly, you may also need to pay the inoculation expenses. This could cost anywhere from S$30 for a single flu vaccination to S$93 for a combination of vaccinations for pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus. Other one time expenses may include buying bedding for your maid, transporting her from the airport upon arrival and other miscellaneous expenses to help her get settled in her new home.

One-Time FeesAverage Cost (S$)
Maid Agency Fee1,100
Work Permit Application30
Work Permit30
Settling-in Programme75
Employer's Orientation32.25
Initial Medical Examination80
Inoculation (optional)73.87

Average Recurring Costs

The average annual cost of keeping a full-time live-in maid is S$12,496.29. Your monthly and annual costs will vary based on whether you qualify for MOM's monthly levy concession, wages, insurance and monthly expenses like food, transport, and toiletries for your maid. If you do not qualify for the levy concession (you don't live with a disabled, elderly, or young child), your total annual cost will be S$14,836.29.

Monthly Cost (S$)Annual Cost (S$)
Monthly Wage5306,360
Semi-Annual Medical Exams-60
Monthly Levy (with concession)60720

Wages will also vary depending on the ethnicity of your maid. For instance, the Philippines imposed a minimum wage of S$570 per month, while other countries have a wage minimum of S$500 per month. In other cases, you could pay even more depending on your maid's experience. If you decide to keep your maid long-term, you could consider adding bonuses or giving her a 10% wage raise every two years to reward her for a job well done and to keep up with the cost of living.

Wage By EthnicityMinimum Wage (S$)
Myanmar (Burmese)450

Another cost you will be responsible for is maid insurance, which is a requirement by the M.O.M.. This costs an average of S$362.91, with the Waiver of Counter Indemnity included (this frees you from paying the S$5,000 M.O.M. bond and reduces your liability to S$250 instead of S$5,000). Other annual costs that you will be responsible for are semi-annual medical examinations, any medical or dental costs that you may incur that won't be covered by insurance and any holiday travel arrangements where she will be accompanying you.

Average Cost of a Part-Time Maid

If hiring a full-time maid is too expensive, you can consider a hiring a part-time maid. Because part-time maids charge by the hour, you can save a lot of money by choosing when you need the help and for how long. There are a variety of local workers available either through an agency or freelance that include nannies, maids, cooks, and dog-walkers. Generally, hiring a maid from an agency will cost you on average S$17/hour for weekday work and S$20/hour for weekends with agency fees ranging from S$200 to S$300. If you want help with your kids, you can consider hiring a part-time nanny or babysitter, which costs an average of S$21.

ServiceAverage Hourly Cost (S$)
Agency Maid17-20
Freelance Maid10-20

How to Save On Maid Costs

There are several ways to lower the overall cost of hiring a full-time maid without sacrificing your maid's comfort and your duty to her as her employer. First, you can lower your costs if you hire your maid directly through the M.O.M. site, as you won't need to pay the maid agency fees. Even if you want to go through a maid agency, you can still save on your agency fee with some insurance policies, such as FWD's maid insurance, that reimburse your maid agency fees entirely. You can also opt for the in-person Employee Orientation programme which costs S$30-34.25 since the online version costs S$45. If you have someone who needs permanent help in at least 1 activity of daily living (they are unable to shower, feed or dress themselves), you may qualify for a monthly grant of S$120. Lastly, purchasing cheap maid insurance plans with great value can also help save S$100 or more on an annual basis.

It is advisable not to skimp on costs like food and transportation, especially if you expect your maid to do the cooking and transporting your children to and from school. You should make sure she is healthy and has everything she needs in terms of basic necessities and hygiene products as this will help keep medical expenses down. Since dental expenses aren't usually covered by insurance, you can turn to places like HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics) if your maid needs dental care. However, you may have to wait several weeks before an appointment time is available.

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