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According to the Ministry of Manpower, 246,300 foreign domestic workers were working in Singapore as of January 2022, almost 20.5% of the country’s foreign workforce.

Not only that, as the demand for foreign domestic workers increases, their bargaining power has also increased, translating into higher wages and better protection through comprehensive insurance packages.

In addition to paying their monthly salaries, Singaporean households also have to factor in the costs of hiring them, meeting the day-to-day expenses of helpers and getting them a good insurance policy.

So what are the exact costs of hiring a foreign domestic worker, and is the mandatory insurance policy for housekeepers just an additional financial burden? How much should you earn to comfortably hire a foreign domestic worker? We answer all these questions below.

How much does it cost to hire a foreign domestic worker?

According to our research, it costs around S$1,434 in one-time fees to hire a foreign maid. Most households hiring a first-time helper usually go through housekeeping agencies, as they take care of all the paperwork and can also help mediate if things don’t work out between you and your new FDW.

Hiring a helper on your own is certainly cheaper, but you must be prepared to manage the application process and you may not have any recourse in the event that you need to change the hired helper.

One-time costs Average cost
Cleaning agency fees $1,100
Work permit application $35
Working license $35
Installer $75
Employer Orientation $35
Initial medical examination $80
Inoculation (optional) $74
Total S$1434

Typically, you can expect to spend an additional S$1,200 per month on various things like salary, insurance, and living expenses. Usually, an FDW’s salary is tied to their nationality, with some countries stipulating a minimum monthly salary for hiring FDWs in their country.

In fact, the median wage for new workers is actually quite close to the required minimum. However, the salary of an FDW can also vary depending on their experience and can reach up to S$1,000 per month in some cases.

Also, hiring new assistants often requires an upfront payment in the form of a placement fee, which is usually equivalent to 2-5 months salary from the FDW. However, these costs are then deducted from the housekeeper’s salary in monthly instalments for the agreed period.

Additionally, Singaporeans who live with an elderly person, child, or someone with special needs can apply for a preferential FDW levy rate of $60 per month in this case, which will reduce your cost to $1,000 per month and $12,000 per year.

How can Maid Insurance help reduce costs?

Maid insurance is compulsory when you hire a foreign domestic worker in Singapore, and to many this may seem like an additional financial burden that raises the cost of hiring a domestic helper even higher than it actually does. already is.

But like any other insurance policy, it’s important to remember that getting a well-rounded yet affordable housekeeper insurance policy could be an effective way to save money in the long run.

All Singaporeans who hire foreign domestic workers are required to take out a housekeeper’s insurance policy which covers a minimum of S$15,000 in medical cover and S$60,000 in personal accident cover per year.

If you choose your insurance policy well, you will be covered for all sorts of unforeseen circumstances that may arise in the future – such as the disappearance of your domestic helper, or even the contract termination and renewal costs you will incur. if you choose to switch assistants for any reason.

While paying for this home help insurance might seem like an unnecessary and extra financial burden at the moment, it could ultimately help you cut costs in the future should the unexpected happen. With the rising cost of living in Singapore, this might turn out to be more convenient than expected.

How do you know which maid insurance policy is the best? We have compiled a list of the best and most profitable options here to help you out.

How much should you earn to pay a foreign domestic worker in Singapore?

We have talked about the general cost of having a foreign domestic worker in Singapore, but how do you assess whether you are earning enough to comfortably afford this domestic help?

The local cost of living has certainly increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic and myriad other economic factors, but we’ve analyzed all of these costs to estimate a recommended income that would allow your household to comfortably hire. a foreign domestic worker.

According to our analysis, your net income after CPF contribution should be around S$6,000-7,000 per month. This amount would be able to cover most of the costs associated with hiring a housekeeper in addition to the average household expenses of $4,839 for food, transportation, education, clothing and entertainment.

Given that the median gross income in Singapore, excluding CPF contribution, is around S$4,000, this would imply that households with only one member earning an average or below-average salary cannot afford to hire full-time help. However, families with 2 working adults earning an average salary should be able to afford to hire a domestic helper with financial leeway to spare.

The income required to afford an FDW in Singapore is around S$7,000 per month

In fact, most Singaporean households earn more than the above amount, with a median household income of S$9,520 per month. Still, some jobs certainly pay better than others, making it easier for some to pay for extra help around the house than others.

For example, the median salary excluding CPF contribution was highest for financial and insurance services at around S$6,200, while it was lowest for accommodation and food services at less than S$2. 200 Singapore dollars.

Median salary excluding CPF employer by industry


The costs of hiring a foreign domestic helper are not insignificant, and you would need at least two working adults in your household who earn an average wage to comfortably hire a domestic helper.

Housekeeper insurance may seem like an additional financial burden on top of these already high costs, but it’s important to remember that insuring your domestic helper can save you exorbitant costs should an unfortunate circumstance arise in the future. .

The article How much do you need to earn to hire a foreign domestic worker in Singapore? originally appeared on ValueChampion.

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