DOMESTIC HELP IN SINGAPORE
For many Singapore households, there is a genuine necessity for domestic help. In less than a decade, the total number of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in this city has increased to as much as 27% — from approximately 201,000 in Year 2010 to 255,800 in Year 2019. It was a significant spike from the 50,000 domestic helpers back in Year 1990.
In 2018, domestic helpers contributed $11.1 billion or 2.4% of Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) This total economic contribution of more than 250,000 domestic helpers are calculated based on their personal expenditure, the value of paid domestic work and the freed-up time of mothers that were able to re-enter the labour force.
Today, 1 out of 5 Singaporean households hires a full-time maid and this trend is attributed to the prevalence of dual-income parents and a rising ageing population.
WHY SINGAPOREAN HIRE DOMESTIC HELPERS?
If these are not any indication, full-time domestic helpers have become fundamental to the smooth running of many Singaporean households. For adults who work long periods of hours, having a domestic helper at home is a boon. They pick up after the kids, fetch them from school, assist the elderly, and keep homes tidy, to name a few of their responsibilities.
With a starting salary of $450 a month, domestic helpers are relatively more economical to hire than getting specialized home and/or elderly day care services. Although it’s relatively higher than a part-time helper, a live-in full-time domestic helper can do many other things such as looking after the kids and cooking.
How did Singaporeans grow so reliant on foreign domestic helpers anyway?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF DOMESTIC HELP IN SINGAPORE
Let’s take a look at how the industry of domestic helpers started in Singapore and how it transpired to what it is today.
In the early 1930s, employing live-in domestic helpers was typical among expatriates and wealthy local employers.
They were then called amahs, who are women hailing mostly from Guangdong province in China and are distinguished for their plaited hair and uniforms composed of white blouses and black pants. They were figures of respect with most families giving their amahs the leeway to discipline the children and function as second parents. However, it was in the late 1960s when things started to change. Singapore went under industrialisation — more women took up jobs in offices and factories, which resulted in the necessity to pay for domestic helpers to look after the home.
In 1978, the government introduced the Foreign Domestic Servant Scheme, which allowed women from neighbouring countries to be employed as paid domestic helpers. These included foreign domestic helpers from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar to name a few. But, unlike the much-respected amahs, domestic helpers today are treated by many families as an employee who is required to have the necessary skills to look after the children, care for the elderly, and run the home.
FDWS FROM THE PHILIPPINES, INDONESIA AND MYANMAR
Over the years, it has become a common practice for Singapore families to hire a maid from different countries, particularly in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar.
Domestic helpers from these countries have established a reputation for being reliable and hardworking thus, have gained the trust of many Singaporean households. They often move to the city in search of better-paying job opportunities and use the money they earn to support their families back home.
Hiring an domestic helper affords you substantial help with the basic household chores such as cleaning, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and sometimes looking after the kids or the elderly. They can also look after your house at times when your family is on vacation for the weekend or when you have to go on business trips.
Today, the most reliable way to hire an domestic helper is through maid agencies in Singapore that provides a pool of temporary and full-time maids.
Recruitbee Employment — a leading foreign maid agency in Singapore that provides a wide range of quality professional services for both Singaporean households and maids.
SHOULD YOU ENGAGE A DOMESTIC HELPER?
In between a 9-5 job, ferrying your kids to and from school, and helping them with their homework, household chores probably comes at the least of priority.
Often, these matters leave you completely with no time to keep your home clean and organised most of the time. Life is busy indeed and it’s probably given you the thoughts of hiring a domestic helper. It could be the best solution to help balance your career and family time.
Here are five reasons why you should consider hiring a full-time maid in Singapore to look after the daily activities in your home:
You work long hours and you neither have the time or the energy to clean your home.
You could do with some help with the house duties while you focus on your newborn baby.
You have a big family thus, have one too many household tasks more than you can handle.
You need an extra pair of hands to look after the kids or your pets.
Your family travels regularly and you need a housekeeper to take care of things while away.
You need additional support to take care and accompany elderly members.
Above all these reasons, hiring a maid allows you to free up more time and do the things you enjoy. You don’t have to shoulder all the burden of running your home.
PART-TIME HELPER VS. FOREIGN DOMESTIC HELPERS
In case you’re wondering, you actually have at least two ways to get the extra pair of hands you need with the household chores: part-time local helper and full-time foreign domestic helper.
If you require someone to constantly look after your kids or elderly parents and do the household chores, hiring an domestic helper would be worthwhile. Conversely, if you merely need help with cleaning from time-to-time, a part-time helper may be the most practical way to go.
But, given the range of benefits they can offer, many employers still opt for hiring a full-time domestic helper. These include the following.
The Benefits of Hiring a Full-Time Domestic Helper in Singapore
Frequency of Sessions
The frequency of cleaning sessions for a full-time domestic helper is customisable since she is living with you. It’s contrary to a part-time helper whose sessions are limited and often dependent on the pre-set package that you’re availing.
The minimum salary of an domestic helper in Singapore is $450 a month. It is generally fixed and bound by the contract,which is strikingly different from the rates of a part-time helper, which is dependent on the size of your home, frequency of cleaning, and other surcharges. You could be paying as much as $660 a month when you hire a part-time helper.
Much like the frequency of sessions, the job scope of an domestic helper is customisable, but of course, with the safety and welfare of the employee in mind. Meanwhile, the job scope of a part-time helper is pre-determined by the cleaning packages provided by their agency.
Your accountant will do your books. Your broker will help you buy a house. A housekeeper can help you with the household task.
Hire a domestic helper at Recruitbee today!
SHOULD YOU ENGAGE AN AGENCY TO HIRE A DOMESTIC HELPER?
Hiring an domestic helper is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s essential that you take the time to think about everything that it involves — spending time training your new helper, establishing relationships, and dealing with certain co-existing challenges such as cultural and language barriers, for instance.
It explains why hiring through a maid recruitment agency could be the best solution for your household help needs. They exist to assist you with the preliminary process which involves screening applicants and shortlisting those that best match your requirements.
On top of that, you may also be required to use an maid agency in Singapore to comply with the rules and regulations of the country, in which you’re hiring help from. For instance, the Indonesian government mandates every domestic helper employment to go through an agency for all the processes involved in hiring.
Recruitbee Employment Pte. Ltd. is an established maid agency that delivers first-class customer service by sourcing and supplying well-trained and experienced foreign domestic maids from MOM-approved source countries — Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Northeastern India.
Our expertise stems from our extensive years of experience in the industry but more so from our consultants’ personal experiences in hiring domestic helpers. We take pride in listening to our clients and advising them when searching for the most suitable help for your home care requirements.
We understand that every home is unique, hence we source you a list of potential domestic helpers, screened through our tried-and-tested methodologies.
Recruitbee offers a wide range of services that covers the different stages of hiring an domestic helper. From pre-employment to the arrangement of home leave, employment termination procedures as well as repatriation, we guarantee a smooth and convenient process for both the employers and foreign domestic helpers.
Hire a Filipino Maid
Of the hundreds of thousands of maids in Singapore, the majority are from the Philippines. Filipinos are one of the most coveted nationalities for domestic help in the world, including in Singapore. In fact, there’s truth in the saying that you’ll find a Filipino in every country in the world.
Good command of English, thus good enough for communication and understanding to carry out your instructions
Warm and friendly nature, are adept in interacting and taking care of kids. They are also dog loving people which would surely benefit families with pets
Versatile and tends to handle difficult tasks better or have multi-tasking skills when accompanied with good guidance and training
Salary Range: $570 – $750
Hire a Indonesian Maid
Singapore also has a substantial number of maids from Indonesia. These maids are regarded for their easy-going, warm and friendly personalities, willingness to learn and improve, as well as sociable and patience with children and the elderly. These traits make them in-demand particularly among households with infants, kids, and seniors.
Familiar and flexible to adapt to employers preferences in terms of cooking as we mostly shared the similar Asian palette
Known to pick up English, Mandarin, Malay languages and even dialects relatively quickly which sits well with the elderly family members
Sociable and patient with infant, kids, and the elderly
Salary Range: $550 – $700
Hire a Myanmar Maid
Affordability is one of the driving factors behind the upsurge in the number of Myanmar maids in Singapore. In fact, the cost of hiring a Myanmar maid ranges from $450-$600 depending on their working experience. But, in addition to that, this working force is regarded for their gentle disposition and an understanding nature.
Sweet personality, good attitude and temperament, easy to get along with once the ice has been broken
Tends to be soft-spoken, work harder and determined to make a living
Willing to learn, can break the English language barrier by undergoing English proficiency training and given ample reasonable time
Salary Range: $450 – $600
FDW EMPLOYMENT REGULATIONS IN SINGAPORE
If you decided to hire an domestic helper, you should know that as an employer, there are rules and a set of work permit conditions that you must comply with for the duration of the helper’s employment.
While domestic helpers are not covered by the Employment Act, their rights are enforced through various regulations such as the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Over the years, this has somehow improved the rights of both the workers and employers; understanding and enforcing them can help you avoid serious offences.
Important FDW Employment Rules
- Domestic helpers are entitled to a weekly rest day or compensation in lieu thereof
- Domestic helpers are required to live with their employer hence, the latter should provide adequate accommodation for their helpers.
- Domestic helpers should have the right insurance coverage, medical care, and safe working conditions, which employers should sponsor.
- Domestic helpers must have a valid work permit issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and should only work for the employer whose name is on the permit.
- Domestic helpers can’t take on any part-time work.
THE COST OF HIRING A DOMESTIC HELPER IN SINGAPORE
As earlier said, hiring a foreign domestic helper can cost you anywhere from $450-$700 a month. However, you should know that it’s not only the basic salary that you should be concerned about. Below is a breakdown of the typical costs involved when hiring a domestic helper in Singapore.
While $500 is the average, the salary of a domestic helper will depend on their educational qualification and level of working experience, thus can vary accordingly. This is on top of the food, lodging, travel, medical, and healthcare expenses of the helper, which you are required to pay separately.
Another cost that you will have to pay is the levy, which you have to settle directly to the government. It costs $265 a month or $60 for a concessionary rate. To be eligible for the latter, an infant, an elderly, or a family member with disability should be living with you at your registered address.
When you hire a domestic helper through an agency, you will also have to pay them a fee in exchange for their services. Fees greatly vary according to the agency you are using, but usually increase based on the reputation of the business as well as the range of services they offer.
On top of that, you will also have to arrange for the domestic helper’s work permit, which costs $35 for applying and another $35 for the issuance. The permit is valid for two years and must be renewed after expiration.
Insurance and Other Medical Costs
It’s mandated by law to insure your helper with medical and accident insurance with an annual minimum coverage of $15,000 and $60,000, respectively. All these are on top of the routine medical checkups and exams you have to pay for at least once every 2 years.
Travel Expenses & Settling In
You will also have to pay for the cost of getting your domestic helper to Singapore. Airfare may cost you anywhere from $200-$600 and may vary depending on the season. You will also have to shoulder the $75 fee of a Settling in Programme (SIP), which your helper will have to undergo upon their arrival.
Last on the list is the cost of security bond between you, as an employer, and the government. It usually serves as a protection for both the employer and the domestic helper and a guarantee that both parties are complying with the conditions stated in the Work Permit.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kind of accommodation should helpers be provided with?
Aside from safe working conditions, employers should also ensure a safe and inhabitable accommodation for domestic helpers. They should be provided with a separate room and in case it isn’t possible, the employer must at least ensure there’s enough space and privacy for the helper.
How much food should you provide?
The MOM mandate that domestic helpers should have the same amount of food the employers need themselves, which is three nutritious meals at minimum. In case the helper has certain dietary requirements due to health, religion, or by choice, the employer should accommodate it, even if it means providing them with money to buy their own.
What else should you be aware as an employer of an domestic helper?
Aside from medical care, employers should also shoulder the costs in the unfortunate event that a helper is hospitalized and may require surgery. This further illustrates the importance of safe working conditions as well as medical and personal accident insurance for the domestic helper.
IS A FULL-TIME DOMESTIC HELPER FOR YOU?
We can’t stress enough the importance of reflecting on whether or not you should hire a full-time maid. The best way to go on about it is to analyse your needs and your level of commitment to make the hiring a success.
Aside from the potential benefits, you should also assess the other factors that come with it. For instance, hiring a full-time maid means a non-family member will be in your home 24/7 and will somehow be included in your family decisions. It also comes with additional household expenses hence, you have to make sure that you’re earning more than what you’re paying for the help.
Understand your needs, evaluate your options, and come up with an informed decision. In many instances, you’ll find that hiring a maid is your best option. They are capable of doing anything from childcare to elderly care, household help, and more — and that’s without the need to hire another worker to do each job. While it may seem expensive, hiring a full-time maid can actually save you money in the long run.
For many Singaporeans, hiring an domestic helper is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. Take the case of the families we have helped by connecting them to helpers that they have come to rely on and trust with their needs.
“Our family would like to thank Renie for her proactive help and professionalism, really appreciate your patience and understanding!
Our helper, Ailyn was selected based on her recommendation and she has been a great fit for us. Most importantly, Ailyn loves and dote our precious husky.
Good job, Renie and thank you once again!”
Mrs. Chua & Family
“Great helpful and very friendly staff!
Admire their patience in willing to listen to my requirements and worries. So far I don’t have any problem with the maid, so happy that all worked out well!
Would definitely recommend you to my friends.”
THE RECRUITBEE DIFFERENCE
What sets Recruitbee Employment apart is our commitment to guide our team in listening and understanding our clients’ budget limitations and concerns.
Having years of knowledge and experience in this field, we are capable of identifying and assessing excellent candidates that match their specific needs such as infant care, childcare, elderly care, PWD care, and household chore assistance to name a few.
We strive to provide the most suitable domestic helper to our customers so they can focus on what matters to them most.
Professional & Compassion
Quality & Commitment
Honest & Reasonable Price
Responsible & Convenience
Support & Guidance