How to hire a maid in Singapore: Costs & fees of a domestic helper (2019)

How to hire a maid in Singapore: Costs & fees of a domestic helper (2019)

There are many reasons to hire a domestic helper in Singapore. You might be a new family with young children and two working parents.

You might be looking for help to take care of your aging parents who may need more attention than you can afford to give them due to your work commitments.

Or may you just need someone to maintain the house and cook your meals while you’re busy earning those big bucks at work.

Whatever the reasons, hiring a domestic worker is a relatively straightforward business – at least, when it comes to how much it’ll cost you.


The following are to be paid directly to the domestic helper’s employment agency.

Type of fees Cost
Maid agency fees Between $100 and $2,000
Settling in (for first-time helpers) $75
Work permit application $30
Work permit issuance $30
Foreign Domestic Worker Levy $265 (or $60 with concessions)
Security deposit $5,500
Maid insurance (Minimum medical coverage of $15,000 and personal accident coverage of $60,000) $284
Total Between $6,079 and $6,384

Thus the total amount you should expect to pay upfront would be anything between $500 and $2,684 (excluding security deposit) depending on the maid agency, whether you qualify for the levy concessions, and whether it’s your helper’s first time in Singapore or not.


Currently, there are three categories under the Foreign Domestic Worker levy concessions that allow you to pay the monthly levy of $60 instead of the usual $265. They are:

Young Child/Grandchild Scheme

If there is a child or grandchild who is a Singapore Citizen, 16 years old or younger and living with you.

Aged Person Scheme

If there is an elderly family member who is a Singapore Citizen, 65 years old and above and living with you. Just note that from 1 Apr 2019, the qualifying age for the aged person scheme will be raised from 65 to 67. This is in light of improving life expectancy and health of Singaporeans.

Person With Disabilities (PWD) Scheme


If there is a person with disabilities who needs help with at least 1 activity of daily living (ADL), such as showering, eating, dressing or getting around.

Alternatively, if the disability is not so severe, you can apply for a monthly grant to subsidise the levy cost of the domestic helper.

If you hire an FDW to care for a family member who requires permanent assistance with 3 or more ADLs, you may qualify for a monthly grant of $120 under the foreign domestic worker grant.


There are many determining factors when determining salary. Experience and relevant training are the main deciding factors.

However, a domestic helper’s nationality may also play a part. Earlier this year, Indonesia set the minimum salary of all domestic helpers at a minimum of $500.

Around the same time the Philippines government is looking to reduce the number of domestic helpers entering Singapore. With the reduced supply, expect the salaries to increase accordingly.

This is the minimum salary you can expect to pay a new domestic helper, based on their nationality.

Country of Origin Minimum Salary
Indonesia $500
Philippines $500
Myanmar $450
Sri Lanka $400


Other than the domestic helper’s salary and levy, you are also liable for her food and accommodation, medical expenses, travel expenses (including air ticket home) as well as any emergency expenses like hospitalisation fees, should there be a need for it.

This is why you definitely shouldn't scrimp on things like maid insurance.



Of course, these are just the basic costs involved in hiring a domestic helper in Singapore.

There's a lot of other factors when deciding if you need a domestic helper than just how much it will cost you.

Do consider if you really need a full-time domestic helper to help with your household, or if your needs are less demanding and you can actually suffice with a part-time cleaner or rely on childcare services.

This article was first published in MoneySmart .

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