How to Hire a Maid in Singapore: Your Ultimate Guide

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

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There are a lot of reasons why you would need to hire a domestic helper in Singapore such as starting a new family or looking for help to take care of your elderly family members. Whatever reason you may have, there are a lot of things which you would need to consider and take note of.

To properly guide you, we have highlighted below the things you need to take note of when hiring domestic workers in Singapore.

Reminders on Hiring A Maid

Meet the requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower

Before you can hire foreign domestic workers, it is important that you first meet the set of requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). These set of requirements are as follows:

  • You must be at least 21 years old and above;
  • You must not be an undischarged bankrupt;
  • You must have the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibilities as an employer;
  • You must possess the financial capacity to hire, maintain, and upkeep the foreign domestic helper in an acceptable accommodation; and
  • You must have attended the Employer’s Orientation Programme (EOP).

Searching for domestic helpers with the right experience

Once you are eligible to hire a domestic helper, you now can search for one. There are different ways you can search for and hire a maid directly without resorting to a maid agency.

First, through word of mouth. You can speak to your friends, relatives, neighbours or colleagues about their experiences with domestic helpers. Second, you may also search through online directories to find a suitable helper for you. These directories will include various details including work experience, nationality, and work permit expiration among others.

Ensure the eligibility of the maid based on your needs

Once you have selected a few maids, the next step is to ensure that they fulfil the maid eligibility requirements. These requirements are as follows:

  • They must be female;
  • They must be between the ages of 23 to 50 years old at the time of application;
  • They must be from an approved source country or territory including maids from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand;
  • They must be unrelated to you;
  • They must be employed at your home address as stated on your NRIC;
  • They must be certified with at least 8 years of formal education; and
  • They must be certified with the Settling-In-Programme if this is their first time seeking employment as a domestic worker in Singapore.

Meanwhile, if you are hiring transfer maids or maids who have worked in Singapore previously, you wouldn’t need to go with this step.

Schedule a face-to-face interview with the maid

After having a shortlist of maids from your search, you can interview so you will have a better and more informed selection. It will help you take out any potential problem which may arise between you and the domestic helper, such as communication barriers or different expectations.

You should conduct these interviews in real life whether it be a transfer maid or not as it will help you get a better look at whether you and the maid are comfortable with each other.

If you want to know more about how to check the background of your future maid, you can also check our article here.

Collect documents and applications

Set up a general interbank recurring order (GIRO) account as it will allow the smooth monthly levy deduction by the MOM. Ensure that the GIRO account always has money as the MOM may revoke the maid’s permit.

During the interview, don’t forget to decide on the payment date.

Apply for a security bond or maid insurance

All maids in Singapore are required to have a valid work permit and bond. The work permit allows the maid to work in Singapore for a specific period, while the bond serves as a guarantee that the maid will return to their home country at the end of their contract and that you and your maid will follow the rules of the work permit.

Before applying for insurance and bond, you first need to obtain the In-Principle Approval letter. After that, you are required to deposit an SGD 5,000 security bond with the MOM.

You can also purchase the bond together with the insurance policy as coverage from any bank or insurance company. They will then notify the MOM after your purchase, which would take up to 3 working days.

Discuss the priorities and limitations of the job

It is recommended that you sign a safety agreement with the maid after you’re done with the documents. You must also come up with an employment contract which indicates the salary, rest days, work requirements, limitations, and priorities of your maid.

Costs to Consider


One of the highest monthly recurring costs that you will need to pay is your maid’s salary. You would need to pay them based on the monthly minimum wage in their country. Here’s an example:

  • Philippines – SGD 590
  • Indonesia – SGD 570
  • Sri Lanka – SGD 507
  • Myanmar – SGD 470

Monthly Maid Levy

Another cost that you would need to consider is the monthly levy for a maid in Singapore, which is SGD 300. Subsequent Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) have a monthly levy of SGD 450.

You can lower this to SGD 60 if you are qualified for a concessionary levy, which is applied to:

  • Your family member who requires assistance with at least one daily activity;
  • You have a senior member of the family who is at least 67 years old; and
  • You have a grandchild or child at home younger than 16 years old.

If the ground is no longer existing, the levy concession benefit will stop.

Working On Rest Days

It is required that your maid has a weekly rest day. In case they need to work during that day, you have to pay them a salary for that day or you can allow them to have a different rest day within the same month.

Living Expenses

Since the maid will be living with you, you will also need to prepare for the additional costs of having another person in your home. You have to ensure the maid’s health and comfort, and that they receive adequate food.

Medical Expenses

As the employer, you are responsible for paying your maid’s medical insurance and expenses. This includes getting treatment for common illnesses.

The MOM also requires that you pay for maid insurance with a minimum coverage of SGD 15,000 per annum and personal accident insurance with at least SGD 60,000 per annum minimum coverage.

Moreover, the MOM mandates every employer to send their maids for a bi-annual medical exam to check them for any signs of abuse.

Criteria Before Hiring a Maid

Basic qualifications for hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW)

As there are requirements to become a maid in Singapore, the law also has requirements in hiring as an employer of a foreign domestic worker. Here are the requirements that you must satisfy:

  • You must be at least 21 years old and above;
  • You must not be an undischarged bankrupt;
  • You must have the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibilities as an employer;
  • You must possess the financial capacity to hire, maintain, and upkeep the foreign domestic helper in an acceptable accommodation; and
  • You must have attended the Employer’s Orientation Programme (EOP).

First-time Employer Requirements

If you’re a first-time employer, you are required to attend a 3-hour Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) which will cost SGD 34.50 in a classroom and SGD 46 online.

Losing eligibility with possible sanctions and penalties

There’s a possibility that you may lose eligibility if you hire and fire maids frequently in a short amount of time and if you violate employment laws.

Here are some of the employment rules which may cause you to lose your eligibility once you have violated them:

  • Filing more than three maid work permit applications in a year;
  • Illegal deployment and employment of Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs);
  • Maltreatment, exploitation, and abuse of your maid;
  • Making your maid accomplish tasks that will compromise their health and safety; and
  • Hiring a maid without a legal work permit.

Applying for Joint Income Scheme and Sponsorship Scheme

The MOM considers the combined salary of the married couple as the household income when assessing their eligibility to hire. You also have the option to apply for a Joint Income Scheme if you want to combine your salary with another household member or a Sponsorship Scheme if you are more than 60 years of age and the income will be based on one to two sponsoring relatives.

Hiring another domestic helper

The MOM will assess your financial capacity to hire another maid based on the following circumstances:

  • You have seniors, such as your parents or parents-in-law, living with you; and/or
  • You have two or more minors under the age of 18 in the same household.

Alternatives in hiring a maid

You have to option to hire part-time caregivers if you don’t quality as an employer. Here, your helper will come to your house several times a week to care for your loved ones. You also have the option of hiring live-in caregivers who can provide adequate personal care based on their needs.

Qualifying Criteria to Lower the Concessionary Rate

Foreign Domestic Workers levy concessions

As it stands, there are currently three Foreign Domestic Worker levy concessions categories that can lower your monthly dues to SGD 60:

Young Child/Grandchild Scheme. If you have a child or grandchild in your household who is under the age of 16.

Aged Person Scheme. If you have a senior family member aged 67 and above and are a legal citizen of the country.

Person With Disabilities (PWD) Scheme. If you have a family member who needs assistance with at least one activity of daily living (ADL).

Home Caregiving Grant

Your family is required to undergo a means test to determine if you qualify for the Home Caregiving Grant. This grant is open to people who are living, are permanent residents or citizens of Singapore.

Moreover, the grant requires that your household has no income, your property’s annual value must be SGD 13,000 and below, and each person in the household must earn only SGD 2, 800 and below.

Transfer Hires

If you are looking forward to hiring transfer maids, you can first log in at the Working Permit online portal using the work permit number of the foreign domestic worker and Singpass to check if they are still employed by their previous employer. You can also look into their employment history to check their background.

If they’re still employed, you must communicate with the current employer if they are willing to transfer their FDW to you. If they agree, then you can proceed with processing the documents. If not, the maid must leave the country so you can process a new work permit to hire her.

Top 10 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Maid for the Elderly

As an employer, you have to assume a lot of responsibilities for your maid. While you are primarily responsible for your maid, you have to make sure that your maid doesn’t abuse your trust and their job.

Both you and your maid should work on building a healthy and good employer-employee relationship. To prevent being too remiss as an employer, here are the top ten mistakes that you need to avoid:

  1. Taking away their weekly off day
  2. Total reliance on your foreign domestic worker
  3. Poor supervision for your foreign domestic worker
  4. Poor communication
  5. Not arranging for extra training for your foreign domestic worker
  6. Not making contingency plans
  7. No performance appraisal
  8. Putting your valuable items at risk
  9. Not installing CCTV in the house
  10. Not having any house rules

Hiring a domestic helper requires a significant amount of effort which includes collecting documents and paying the required fees. However, the effort is worth it as your life will be easier once you have found the right maid for your household’s needs.

If you find it hard to directly hire a maid, you also have the choice to go to an employment agency if you don’t have the time to do all the work yourself. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for the perfect person to take care of your elderly loved ones, you also have the alternative option of booking them in an assisted living facility in Singapore.

Retire Genie offers the best retirement home Singapore has to offer with facilities built to offer a warm and inviting atmosphere for the elderly. Our around-the-clock makes sure that your elderly loved ones are safe, relaxed, and happy.

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Your elderly support services, now easily accessible anytime and anywhere in Singapore you are. You can ease your worries knowing that help is always on the way. Download our app today and try it for yourself!