IF you'd like to use an agency to hire home help, here's all the information you need to know.
3 February 2014| Last updated on 13 August 2017
It is important to select the right agency to help you hire a maid in Singapore. A list of licensed maid agencies is available on the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) website. The MoM also gives all the important information regarding the hiring of maids in Singapore and the legalities that go with it.
When you go to an agency you will be matched up with maids that suit your requirements. They will be able to arrange for a Skype or telephone interview with a potential maid. Be sure to give a list of your requirements to the agency, your requirements can include the maid’s preferred age and nationality, if you need her to know how to cook. Do you need her to be a nanny too? All these questions are important when hiring a maid through an agency as they will do their best to match your requirements to the particular skills of the maid.
Once you have chosen the maids that you want to interview through the agency you will have to prepare a list of interview questions that will gauge whether the lady you are interviewing is right to work closely with you and your family. There are many questions that you can ask to find out more about the lady you will hire, you will also be able to assess her understanding of your language and her skills.
Minimum employment requirements from MOM
A Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) must meet the following requirements:
- From an approved source country/territory. These countries/territories include Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand
- Aged 23 years or above, and below 50 years old at the time of the Work Permit application
- Have a minimum eight years of formal education and possesses the necessary educational certificates as documentary proof of her education
- Attend the Settling-in Programme (SIP) - if she is a first-time FDW in Singapore - within three working days of her arrival, excluding the day of arrival, and before the issuance of her Work Permit
- Be employed at her employer’s residential address as stated on her employer’s Identity Card (NRIC)
- Not be related to her employer
- Not be in Singapore before an In-Principle Approval is given and a $5,000 Security Bond is furnished by the employer (applicable to non-Malaysian workers). This does not apply to a current Work Permit holder making a
Work Permit application under a new employer in Singapore
First-time Foreign Domestic Workers
A first-time FDW is one who has:
- No employment record with MOM’s Work Pass Division; or
- Work Permit records with MOM, but did not collect her Work Permit card previously. This includes those who have worked in Singapore for brief periods in the past, or who have applied for Work Permits but did not eventually work in Singapore
There are many things you can find out about a potential employee by the questions that you ask, so we have compiled a list of sample interview questions for you:
1. Why do you want to be a domestic worker?
2. Why do you want to relocate to Singapore?
3. Will you be sending money home? – This question can tell you about the level of commitment that your maid will have depending on her responsibilities back home.
4. Ask about her skills, can she use a hoover and an iron. Does she know how to separate clothes for washing (mind you, you can teach her these things too). Can she cook?? Can she cook food that your family will like (ask her to describe how she would prepare spaghetti bolognaise).
5. Ask her about her previous experience – you can ask her about her responsibilities, how she dealt with naughty children ect.
6. Ask her what she expects her work environment to be like and what a day in her life as a domestic helper would look like – this will help you gauge what kind of work she is used to and what you will have to teach her. It will also show the hours she is used to working.
7. Finally, as an employer you should discuss your expectations with the lady. You can gauge her reaction when you say that she has to get up at 6am to help with the school run prep or to help with the baby.
8. Ask her what she needs with regards to communicating with her family back home; it’s better to ask logistical questions like this so that you know what she requires and what you are able to offer.
The questions above are just samples and you should include more personal information about you or your potential employee. The interview will help you determine who you’re comfortable to hire.
Once you have chosen a suitable maid you will have to complete a work permit for the lady in question – you can do it online or your agency will do it for you. There will be certain costs involved with this. The maid agency will require a fee from you; usually it is between $1000 and $2000 – depending on the agency. The agency fees will cover part or all of the following;
- Airline ticket
- Medical Checkup
- Medical Insurance
- Registration and overseas recruitment fee
- Administrative fee for application of work permit and other documentation.
- Transportation of the maid from the airport
- Entry test and safety awareness course fees
- Security bond – this is a large sum given either as a cash deposit or a Banker’s or Insurance Guarantee. The sum is $5000; however some insurance companies have a special insurance bond. This bond will be returned to you once you have successfully repatriated your maid to her home country or arranged for a transfer visa for her.
There are a few other costs involved with hiring a maid depending on her nationality. If you are hiring a Filipino maid, for example, you will have to add an additional security deposit of $7000 to the Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore. This bond can also be covered by certain insurance companies.
Sometimes you will have to pay a “placement fee” for the maid that you employ (unless she is from Indonesia, in which case there is no fee). The placement fee can range from two months’ salary and up, however this fee can be deducted from the monthly salary of your employee.
If this is the first time that you are hiring a domestic employee you may have to attend the employers’ orientation program at $30 a pop.
There are salary guidelines set out by MoM. These are minimum salary requirements and an employer can pay above these amounts. If you hire an experienced maid she might have higher salary expectations.
Indonesian maid: $450 and above
Filipino maid: $500 and above
Myanmar maid: $450 and above
On top of the salary you must pay a monthly foreign domestic worker levy of $265 through GIRO; however you can get certain concessions on this levy if you meet certain requirements. These requirements are listed on the MoM website - CLICK HERE>>
According to MoM a domestic helper should receive one day a week off, however should she choose to work she must be compensated accordingly for working overtime. Generally people give their domestic helpers Sunday and any public holidays off. The Ministry also requires that the maid get sent home on holiday for two weeks every two years. Of course it is up to you what holiday your maid will have.