How to Legally Hire a Housemaid in Singapore Without an Agency |

How to Legally Hire a Housemaid in Singapore

Looking to hire a domestic helper in Singapore without an agency? Here is a step-by-step guide

Posted on

21 March 2024

Last updated on 21 March 2024
How to legally hire a housemaid in Singapore

Avoid running into legal issues with our handy guide.

Did you know? Around one in five Singapore households employ a domestic helper, according to Channel News Asia.

On top of the demands of a full-time job, it may be difficult to squeeze in the time for housework, cooking, taking care of the children, personal hobbies, finding the time to relax, and other commitments.

For this reason, many families and parents turn towards hiring a housemaid in Singapore to help manage the daily workload. If you're keen to employ a domestic worker, our handy guide has you covered.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to legally hire a housemaid in Singapore, including the fees, requirements, and what the local law says.

Is it legal to hire a domestic worker in Singapore without an agency?

Yes, it's legal to hire a Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) directly in Singapore without the help of an agency.

Employing a domestic worker directly costs less. You'll also be responsible for handling all of the necessary paperwork along with the legal process.

Eligibility requirements to hire a domestic helper in Singapore

To be eligible to hire a domestic helper in Singapore, the employer must meet the following criteria set out by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

How to employ a domestic helper in Singapore
  • The employer must be at least 21 years old.
  • If you are an unmarried individual, you must first be assessed by MOM for your eligibility.
  • The employer must have no records of being an undischarged bankrupt.
  • The employer must not have any of these medical conditions: Alzheimer's, dementia, schizophrenia, etc.
  • If this is your first time hiring a maid in Singapore, you are required to attend an Employers' Orientation Programme (EOP).
  • You need to be realistically financially capable of employing a domestic worker - able to provide the maid's monthly wage, insurance, food, and other expenses.

How much is the Employer Orientation Programme (EOP)?

The EOP costs SGD 34.50 for an in-person class and SGD 46 when done online.

The programme is three hours long, and it's a requirement for first-time maid employers.

Is there a minimum salary to be eligible to hire a helper?

According to MOM, there is no official minimum income required to employ a domestic helper. Instead, your household income will be assessed based on your application.

When presenting your income, married couples can combine income with his or her spouse.

If you're living with immediate family members in the same home address, you can combine your income with them under the Joint Income Scheme.

Elderly residents aged 60 years old and above who need a domestic helper, but are not earning an income nor living with working family members, can also apply under the Sponsorship Scheme.

How to directly hire a maid in Singapore?

Domestic workers' rights in Singapore

As the employer, you need to be aware of the rights a migrant domestic helper has while fully employed in Singapore.

Domestic helpers' minimum salary in Singapore:

Most foreign domestic workers have a minimum salary set by their home country. On average, a migrant helper in Singapore earns between SGD 500 - 600 per month.

Below is a list of minimum salaries for domestic helpers in Singapore, based on nationality:

  • Helpers from Myanmar: SGD 470 a month.
  • Helpers from Cambodia: SGD 500 a month.
  • Helpers from Sri Lanka: SGD 507 a month.
  • Helpers from Indonesia: SGD 570 a month.
  • Helpers from Philippines: SGD 590 a month.

Please note that these are subject to change and their home country may update the minimum salary for domestic workers any time. We recommend checking with the maid's embassy or consulate in Singapore first.

How to hire a domestic helper in Singapore directly

Rest days for domestic workers:

Employers of maids in Singapore must provide a full rest day every week (four rest days per month).

In case the domestic helper needs to work during her rest day, then the employer has to pay her salary for that day or allow for a different rest day within the same month.

Insurance for domestic workers:

It is a legal requirement for employers to get maid insurance in Singapore for all live-in household help that they've employed.

Eligibility requirements for migrant domestic workers

For a domestic helper to be eligible for work in Singapore, she must meet the legal requirements set by MOM.

  • Domestic helpers must be female only.
  • The domestic worker must have completed at least eight years of formal education, with a certificate for proof.
  • She must be between 23 to 50 years of age.
  • Must not be related to the employer.
  • Must be a national of any of the approved countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand.
  • If this is her first time applying as a domestic helper in Singapore, she needs to complete the Settling-In Programme within 7 days of her arrival to the country.

A migrant domestic worker may start working after she has attended the Settling-In Programme for first-time MDWs.

A step-by-step guide on how to hire a migrant domestic worker in Singapore without an agency

How to directly hire a housemaid in Singapore without an agency

Once you're certain of the domestic worker candidate you wish to hire, here are the next steps to take.

1. Apply for the migrant domestic helper's Work Permit in Singapore

You can apply for the housemaid's Work Permit in Singapore through the official MOM website.

Some MDWs may require additional paperwork to leave her country to work in Singapore, such as a Visa, government letter, etc. We recommend double checking with her country's embassy or consulate in Singapore.

2. Get the In-Principal Approval Letter

If the domestic helper's Work Permit is approved, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter from MOM so you can proceed with getting her maid insurance.

You will also receive declaration forms for you and the MDW to sign.

3. Apply for maid insurance in Singapore

Maid insurance is a requirement, which also includes medical insurance and personal accidental insurance. You will need an IPA letter in order to apply for maid insurance.

The domestic helper's medical insurance must have a coverage of at least SGD 15,000 per year, and the personal accidental insurance should have a guaranteed SGD 60,000 payout per year.

4. Pay the security bond deposit.

Employers will also need to make a security bond deposit amounting to SGD 5,000 - the cost of which the employer must shoulder by themselves. Maids are not required to give a share.

Requirements to hire a housemaid in Singapore

This security bond deposit can be refunded if the following instances happen:

  • The employer cancelled the maid's work permit.
  • The domestic helper opted to return to her home country.
  • There were no breach of terms and conditions by both you and the maid.

The security bond can be forfeited if any of the following instances occur:

  • If the domestic worker goes missing, the employer will lose half of the bond.
  • If the employer failed to pay the maid's monthly salary on time.
  • The maid was not sent back to her country of origin after the expiry of her work permit.

The employer has to cover the security bond before the MDW arrives in Singapore, or else the maid won’t be allowed to enter the country. If this happens, the employer will shoulder the fare of bringing the housemaid back home.

More details on the application process are provided on MOM's e-Service platform during your online application.