I have decide to write this article as I am planning to hire a domestic helper anytime soon. Thus, I have been seeking advice from friends and doing some research online about hiring a domestic helper in Singapore.
If this is going to be your first time hiring a domestic helper in Singapore too, I hope this article will be helpful to you.
1. Part Time Maid or Full Time Maid
Hiring a maid has never cross my mind as I prefer more privacy. However, as my husband’s business expand and having to juggle between our business, kids and housework. The options of getting a domestic helper is eventually open as we are also planning for our next pregnancy. However, I am still pounding whether to get a part time maid or full time maid.
So here are the pros and cons of hiring a maid, be it full time or part time. You can evaluate the below factors based on your family needs.
PART TIME MAID
▪ It is less Expensive.
▪ You will get to enjoy more privacy.
▪ There is no need to provide accommodation for them.
▪ There will be less dispute with the them since they go off after cleaning is done.
▪ Worry free about their personal welfare.
▪ They help out only at the allocated time scheduled.
▪ They only do the housework for you.
FULL TIME MAID
▪ You have them around most of the time to help you.
▪ Elderly and Kids can be taken care of.
▪ Your house is cleaner most of the time.
▪ More time for you to rest.
▪ Free up your time to focus on things you wan to.
▪ More Expensive
▪ You need to bear their personal care and other miscellaneous expenses.
▪ Less privacy with them around.
▪ You need to provide a room for her to stay.
▪ You need to supervise, set requirement and expectation for them to follow.
▪ You have to be mindful of the maid overall welfare avoid any disputes.
▪ Your family might reliance on the maid eventually and taking things for granted.
▪ They might have their own personal problem which might affect work performance or even hurt your family members.
▪ You need to be extra careful where you leave your valuable at home.
▪ You get to worry about a lot of things somehow after hiring a full time domestic helper.
2. Who Can Hire Foreign Domestic Helper in Singapore?
You can hire a foreign domestic helper if you are one of the following:
- A Singapore citizen
- A Singapore permanent resident
- An employment pass holder
- A dependent pass holder
3. Her Appearance, Height, Weight, Country etc.
Let’s face it, we normally discuss these factors only with our closer friends and family members. These are the “stereotypes but subjective” factors we usually look into prior interviewing them since you have to screen through their resume first before shortlist a few of them.
These are seldom discuss openly online since it’s stereotypes and subjective. But here’s what I would like to share with you (Some are advise from closer friends while some are advice from forum.). Please treat this as a pinch of salt in making your own decision. In any way, sometimes it’s based on luck as well.
Is she good looking? Is she wearing any make up or did she dye her hair? Some mothers I know will avoid short listing the above criteria. Their viewpoint is if she is financially tight, she wouldn’t have had the money to buy make up or dye her hair, which means she might not be motivated to work in Singapore. Some of them are afraid to hire pretty one to avoid affairs or jealousy from happening (In case). What’s your point?
Is she taller than you? This advice came from a friend of mine. She said while most maids are 150-160cm, you wouldn’t want them to be taller than you. Her take was if you want to have the authority to have the power to give orders, enforce obedience when giving them instruction, you want them to look “up” on you. A side note from me: If they are too short, they might have difficulties putting the plates on the upper dish rack after washing the dishes and you have to do it yourself instead (Encounter by a friend). What’s your point?
Is she oversize? You can estimate her real size by checking her height and weight. You can’t tell much by the photo since they don’t provide side view picture. Most people wouldn’t want to hire obesity as they are lethargic and slow at doing things. Some mothers worried that they might be a big eater too. What’s your point?
Indonesian, Filipino and Myanmar maids are the most popular choices among Singaporeans.
One of the main reasons why they are popular is Filipino maids are more fluent in English, which means she will understand your instructions clearly and carry the task assigned properly. However, some mummies are drawn back by the ideal because they are quite good arguing their way through to get things away. Also, they like to stick to their HP like Wechat and Facebook (they have larger support/community here) and usually they costs more too.
Muslims in Singapore usually prefer to hire Indonesian maids because of the same religion they share. Some Chinese who can speaks Behasa prefer to hire them too since they can communicate with them and if you are lucky, some might speak simple mother tongue. Singaporeans find them more easy going and they cost lesser too. However, you need to be very patient in teaching and guiding new maids from Indonesian as their familiarity of our living standard differs from them greatly. One thing to note is they might have more worries back home.
The cheapest among these 3 countries. Myanmar people usually has a very friendly and peaceful character. They are very diligent workers and has a strong desire to have a better life for themselves when they come to Singapore as not many have the chance to work in Singapore. However, they speak little or no English and are usually quite young.
4. Fresh New Maid or Transfer Maid
Fresh New Foreign Domestic Helper:
The good thing about hiring new maids is that you can train her with your style of cleaning and cooking etc. There will be lesser arguments and they will adapt to your requirements and expectation easily as they have little or no comparison between you and her previous employers (already have her style of doing things).
However, you will need a lot of patients to teach them since they are still adapting the lifestyle standard in Singapore. If you are expecting your first child, it is wiser to hire them earlier so they can get familiar with the housework stuff before handling a baby.
Transfer foreign domestic helper:
The good thing about transfer maid is that they are more experienced maid with lesser guidance. However you might be thinking what’s the reason for the transfer? Most friends advice me to avoid transfer maid introduce by maid agency as you wouldn’t know the real “truth” of the transfer. Most of them are problematic maid too.
However, it is safer to accept a transfer maid with your friends’ recommendation (their previous employer) instead. Their previous employer which is also your friend will then give a truthful opinion.
5. How Long Does it Take to Hire?
Fresh new foreign domestic helper (never work in Singapore): 4 to 6 weeks from date of approval
Transfer foreign domestic helper (already in Singapore and seeking a new employer): 1 week from date of approval.
6. How To Hire a Foreign Domestic Helper in Singapore?
Find out more here Source: www.ecitizen.gov.sg/Topics/Pages/Foreign-domestic-helpers-How-to-hire.aspx
7. How Much does a Domestic Helper in Singapore Costs?
Part time domestic helper usually cost between $10-20 per hour depending on the job you assigned to them.
The cost of hiring a full time domestic helper in Singapore will be as follows:
Upfront Costs During The Hiring Process
1. Employer’s Orientation Program (EOP): $28 to $30 for Classroom EOP and $40 if you are taking online EOP (Find out more here)
2. Settling-in Programme: $75 (if the domestic helper is coming to Singapore to work for the first time)
3. Monthly Levy: $265 (normal rate), $60 concession (Find out more here)
4. Medical Examination: $50-$75 depending on clinic (Done within 14 days of arrival in Singapore)
5. Work Permit Application and Issued: $60 (Application is $30 and another $30 once pass is issued.
6. Security Bond: $5000 in the form of guarantee (Find out more here) Usually purchase together with no 7.
7. Medical & Personal Accident Insurance: $350-$480 every 2 years. (Medical: $15,000 coverage & Personal Accident $40,000 coverage.)
8. Agency Fee: $200- $2000 depending on maid agency and whether you are getting new maid or transfer maid. This can be avoided is you decide to do the paperwork yourself or minimize if you do direct hire yourself.
9. Miscellaneous costs: $20-$600 if you are hiring transfer maid etc.
Hence, the estimated upfront cost is about $5000-7000
Ongoing Costs after hiring
1. Salary: $500 to $800 per month. Depending on their experience, language spoken and which country they are from.
2. Monthly Levy: $120 to $265 per month. Read here to find out if you are qualify for the concession scheme.
3. Medical Checkup: $30-$60 per visit every 6 months (Recommended)
4. Medical & Personal Accident Insurance: $350-$480 every 2 years. See above upfront costs no. 7.
5. Air Ticket Home: $200- $600. Depending on destination, flight choice and peak/non peak month.
6. Passport Renewal: $100 to $400. Depending on their nationality or if you renew directly with the embassy or through the agency.
7. Home Leave Paperwork: $250 – $ 400 per trip
8. Miscellaneous: $400-$500 per month. Personal care, meals, electricity bills.
Thus, the estimated ongoing cost is about $1300 per month
Here’s a couple of interview questions to assist you in choosing your ideal maid.
Things you want to find out from them after screening through their resume:
Find out how motivated she wants to work in Singapore
▪ How many family members do you have under one roof?
▪ Is your family members working?
– If not working, are they healthy to work, otherwise why are they not working?
– If they are working, what are they working as to find out roughly how much they are earning.
▪ If she is single, did she have a boyfriend. If yes, what’s their plan to settled down. (Be prepared that she might go back home for marriage)
▪ Do you need to remit money back every month?
▪ What is your biggest concern if she comes to work in Singapore.
▪ Who is going to take care of your kids after coming to Singapore? (To check if her children are well taken care of)
Basically you want to find out if she have any family financial commitments which results her to come to work in Singapore. If she needs money badly, she is more willingly and motivated to work in Singapore.
To find out the skills & experiences she has.
For New Maid
▪ Do you need to do housework or share the housework with your other family members?
▪ Do you have children? How old are they? (To understand her experience in taking of different age children.)
▪ If no, is she willing to learn how to take care of baby and toddlers?
▪ What will you do if a baby is crying non-stop and no one is around?
▪ Do you have elderly that you need to take care of? Who is looking after them?
▪ If she has no experience in taking care of elderly. Is she willing to learn how to take care of them?
▪ What will you do if the elderly doesn’t want to eat the medicine and is throwing tantrums at you?
For Experienced Maid
▪ How many years did you work under your previous employer. Why? You want to make sure her answer is the same as her resume.)
▪ What is your main duties with your previous employer? Other than that, what did she do at their house?
▪ How many family members are there in your previous employer’s house? Who are they?
▪ How big was their house? what time you need to wake up?
▪ Do you cook independently or with the help of your employer?
▪ What can you cook? Which is your best recipes? Did you learn any new recipes from your previous employer?
▪ Did you get off day? If yes, what did you do during off day? If no, what do you hope you will be doing.
Getting to know her, her wants and needs.
▪ What is your strength as a domestic helper?
▪ Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
▪ What will you do if you are unhappy with us?
▪ What will you do if you have too many things to handle?
▪ Do you have any friends in Singapore? (To gauge the support/community she has)
▪ Do you know how to use mobile phone or social media like Facebook or Wechat? (To gauge the support/community she has)
▪ What’s your usual sleep hours like?
▪ Do you have any medical conditions? Do you take any medications? (You are responsible for her medical expenses)
▪ Inform her the no. of times and minutes XXX she gets to call her family members per month. (To avoid any conflicts)
Additional questions for experienced maid or transfer maid:-
▪ Why did you leave your previous/current employer?
▪ Do you have any arguments with your employer? How do you solve it?
▪ How many times do you get to contact your family members through phone? Is it sufficient?
▪ When do you think is appropriate and in-appropriate time to use the phone?
Her Main Job, Duty and Your Expectation, Requirements After Hiring Her.
It is good to let the maid know what she will be expecting before you hire her. Hence, you want to inform her whatever you think she should know.
▪ How many family members you have in the house.
▪ Her task assigned.
▪ Is she comfortable with the task assigned. (Ask her to give you the rating from 1 out of 10.)
▪ I need you to wake up at XXX to prepare breakfast for everyone and get the kids ready. Are you okay with it?
▪ I have X children age X and X and I’m expecting a second baby soon, can you handle?
▪ Washing of lingerie is to be done at shower area and not at the basin (Don’t expect their standard of hygiene is the same as us, so it’s better to inform her first)
Share this articles to your friends or mummies who are planning to hire a maid soon. I am sure they will thank you for this.