In Singapore, it is common for families to hire a maid. Usually, both parents have to be working in order to raise the children.

Hiring a maid can be essential for your family if you work long hours, have small kids, or have elderly relatives living with you. A professional maid will help take the load off; she’ll be diligent with her chores and offer quick assistance. You can then focus on your work, your investment or other financial goals.

Your life’s quality will improve by a gazillion times.

That’s probably why 20% of families have maids in Singapore, with 245,600 migrant domestic workers currently on work permits in the country.

Imagine someone who soothes the baby while you’re enjoying that 10-minute shower you yearned for the whole day. Or someone who’ll help you do the dishes after dinner.

However, the costs of domestic helpers in Singapore involve more than just the salary. So, read the article below to find out what you should be prepared for.

We’ll break down these costs into three main categories:

  • Recurring fees that you’ll have to consider each month
  • One-off costs, and:
  • Additional costs

Keep reading below:

Recurring Costs Of Domestic Helper


Hiring a maid to help out in the house does not just include their monthly salary. The recurring costs of a domestic helper include:

  • Salary: $600
  • Living expenses: $200
    • Utilities: $40
    • Groceries: $120
    • Transport: $40
  • Levy: $60 (if you obtain the cheapest concessionary option)
  • The security bond and insurance: $292
  • Biannual medical examination: $60

You’ll pay the security bond and insurance just once every year, while the biannual medical examination is… well, bi-annual. However, all the other expenses are monthly.

That brings you to a total of: $10,732/year and about $895/month

More or less, though – because you have to consider other factors, such as your domestic helper’s experience, country of origin, and if you’ll need her to work on her free days.

Let’s break down all of these factors:

Cost Of Domestic Helper Based On Country Of Origin

The country of origin determines the cost of domestic helpers in Singapore because:

  • Those countries have their rules or different cultures, and:
  • There’s already a market rate based on people’s previous experiences with maids from those countries.

Here’s what you can expect:

CountryMinimum Wage set by EmbassyNew Maid Average SalaryEx-Singapore Average SalaryTransfer Maid Average Salary
Sri Lanka$497$513$586$645
India / MizoramNone$438$475$532


Cost Of Domestic Helper For Working On Rest Days

The law in Singapore is that maids need one rest day each week.

Let’s say you’re usually giving Sundays off for your maid. But one Sunday, it’s your birthday, and you’re having several people over, so you need some extra help.

In this case, you can:

  • Pay your maid for the day. With an average salary of $600/month, that’s $23 for the day.
  • Give her another rest day during that month to total four rest days.

Cost Of Domestic Helper Depending On Level Of Experience

Like in any other activity area, the more experience you have, the better you are at your job.

If you have small kids or frail older adults living with you, you’ll appreciate an experienced maid. Here’s how much that experience costs:

Years Of ExperienceMonthly Salary


Living Cost Of Domestic Helpers

We already discussed some basic living expenses above that should amount to $200:

  • Groceries: $120
  • Transport: $40
  • Utilities: $40

However, you may want to foot your maid’s phone bill – after all, she’ll want to call home to keep in touch with her family.

Or, you can become friends with her. Your children and elderly relatives might bond with her too. So, you might also want to invite her on some nights out with the family.

Levy Cost Of Domestic Helpers

The foreign worker levy is a cost that you’ll pay each month to the Ministry of Manpower:

  • Normal levy (first-time maid): $300
  • Normal: $450
  • Concessionary: $60

If your maid doesn’t complete an entire month, you’ll have to calculate the levy based on the daily rate as follows:

  • Normal levy (first-time maid): $9.87
  • Normal: $14.80
  • Concessionary: $1.98

Here’s how to do that:

Multiply the levy sums/ day above with the number of days your maid has worked that month. For example, if your maid’s on the normal first-time levy and she’s worked ten days out of the month, your total is $98.7.

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself how you can get that concessionary levy.

You can qualify for the concessionary levy if you’re living with:

  • A child that’s younger than 16yo
  • A senior of at least 67yo
  • A person with disabilities certified by a medical professional registered in Singapore and who needs daily assistance with:
    • Showering
    • Feeding
    • Dressing
    • Using the toilet

Also, all of these persons above must be Singapore citizens.

Cost Of Domestic Helper Security Bond And Insurance

People working in Singapore have insurance under Singapore’s Work Injury Compensation Act. However, your maid doesn’t.

So, here’s what you have to do:

  • Choose a bank or insurance firm.
  • Buy a $5,000 security bond from them.
  • If your maid breaks her Work Permit requirements or any rules, the government may withhold this deposit.

Also, your domestic helper will need insurance for medical purposes and for personal accidents.

Plus, now there’s the COVID coverage to think of as well. Luckily, many companies have customised affordable insurance plans that cover everything, including that security bond.

PlanMedical coveragePersonal accident coverageCovid-19 coverageMPM security bondAnnual premium*
HL Assurance Maid Protect360 – Enhanced$15,000$80,000$15,000$5,000$292
FWD Maid Insurance – Essential Plan$15,000$60,000– $15,000 for hospitalisation expenses
– $10,000 for repatriation expenses
MSIG MaidPlus Standard Plan (with Covid-19 Cover rider)$15,000$60,000$30,000$5,000$329.56

Cost Of Domestic Helper’s Biannual Medical Examination (6ME)

That’s the final recurring cost of hiring a domestic helper in Singapore so that you can breathe easily. But what’s it about?

Well, as you’ve probably figured from the name, your maid will have to undergo a medical examination two times per year to ensure she’s healthy.

This examination costs $60-$120 and covers:

  • Pregnancy test: $30
  • Syphilis test: $30
  • Optional dental check-up: $60

Your maid also has to do two-yearly check-ups that include:

  • HIV testing: $30
  • Tuberculosis testing: $40

One-off Administrative Cost Of Domestic Helper


Now that we’ve discussed the recurring costs let’s see what initial fees you should prepare for. These fees include:

  • Airfare
  • Medical tests
  • Work permit application
  • Agency fees
  • Employers’ Orientation Programme
  • Settling-in programme
  • COVID-19 tests and quarantine

The transport tickets are the ficklest variable of the bunch, ranging from $100 to $1300. If we choose the average aeroplane cost of $700, the one-off cost of hiring a domestic helper in Singapore is $3,460.

Here’s why:

Airfare Cost Of Domestic Helper

Your maid’s aeroplane ticket will cost:

  • $700-$1,300: from the Philippines
  • $100-$350: from Indonesia
  • $250-$400: from Cambodia

One-off Medical Screening Cost Of Domestic Helper

The Ministry of Manpower will give your maid her work permit only after this mandatory medical examination.

Plan this test carefully:

  • Two weeks before she arrives in the country
  • One week from the Stay-Home Notice Period

The medical tests cost $80 and include:

  • General physical health
  • General mental health
  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Malaria

Your maid can also have the Immunization Package for pertussis and tetanus that costs $93.

Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP)

This programme is mandatory because you have to understand all the implications of hiring a maid in Singapore. You have a slew of responsibilities and things to be mindful of.

Warning: You should attend this course no later than two working days before sending your work permit request.

Here’s some good news:

  • You can choose an online course if you’re not comfortable with the classroom option
  • The fee is $35-$60

Work Permit Cost Of Domestic Helper

The fees are relatively straightforward here:

  • $35 for applying online
  • $35 after you get the work permit

Settling-In Programme

If this is your maid’s first time working in Singapore, she’ll have to attend the Settling-In Programme. This course is an excellent start for her to understand more about the local customs and the laws in Singapore.

The Settling-in Programme costs $75, and you can do it at:

  • Absolute Kinetics Consultancy
  • Grace Management & Consultancy Services
  • NTUC LearningHub

Employment Agency Cost Of Domestic Helper

The agency fee is $1,000-$3,000.

That seems like a lot, but think of all the advantages:

  • You won’t have to do any research.
  • You’ll get a vetted maid who’s safe and professional.
  • You’ll avoid scams.
  • You won’t have to deal with any administrative bureaucracy.

Pro tip: Use MOM’s list of Employment Agencies and choose a company that has:

  • High-placement rates
  • High retention rates
  • Good customer reviews

Additional Placement Fee

The additional placement fee is a charge that maid agencies impose, and you’ll also find it under the name of “maid loan.”

Basically, you’re giving the agency a loan on your maid’s behalf so that she can work in the country.

Here’s the good news: You’ll get this amount back within a few months through several deductions from your domestic helper’s salary.

The whole placement fee thingy is pretty complicated, though, because you’ll have to follow up with a ton of rules depending on your maid’s country of origin.

For example:

  • Maid from the Philippines can’t use more than half their monthly income to repay the loan. The maximum sum they can pay each month for these loans is $1,100.
  • The Indonesian authorities want their maids to arrive debt-free in Singapore. So, if you’re hiring an Indonesian maid, you’ll need to pay for the placement fee.

Warning: The maximum sum that an agency in Singapore can ask for is the equivalent of your maid’s two months’ salary.

Here’s the problem:

Your maid may have already agreed to a more significant fee in her country of origin. At this point, you have to check with the agency to make sure the maid you’re hiring isn’t paying more than she should.

COVID-19 Tests And Quarantine Cost Of Domestic Helper

Now that we’re all going through the COVID pandemic, you have to fork out some extra costs to make sure everyone’s safe. That means your maid should have her COVID-19 testing and quarantine period before coming to work for your family. This extra cost might be difficult for some during this tough period. For extra financial help, you can click here to find out more.

So, the tests and quarantine period amount to $1,500-$2,000.

Additional Costs Of Domestic Helper In Singapore

Along with these recurring and one-off costs, you should also consider these extras:

  • Pay raises: You don’t have to give your maid a raise, but some employers will want to reward domestic helpers. Consider this possibility, especially if you’ll keep your maid for a more extended period.
  • Transfer helpers: These maids have a lot of experience working in Singapore, so they know everything about the country. Besides, they’ve mastered all the intricacies of their work position, so:
    • You should pay them around $800-$1,000/ month, but:
    • You don’t have to pay any one-time fees.
  • Aeroplane ticket back: if you’re not happy with your maid or don’t need domestic help anymore, you should consider your maid’s airfare back to her home country. If you know a few months in advance that you won’t need help around the house soon, buy the plane ticket in advance to save some money.

Cost Of Domestic Helper In Singapore Conclusion

If you decide to hire a maid in Singapore, remember that you’ll have to pay a recurring cost of at least $900/month. We’re excluding payment during free days here, as well as taking your maid out with the family.

Apart from that minimum monthly cost, consider the initial one-off charge of $3,500.

However, hiring a maid is worth it, especially if you need help with your kids or a mobility-challenged relative. So, in this case, don’t make any compromises.

Choose a trustworthy agency and work with the best maid they can recommend. And, if you need financial assistance to cover your domestic helper’s salary or one-off fee, we’re right here.

U Credit is a legal and reputable licensed moneylender in Singapore. We respect the privacy of our customers and believe that honesty is the best policy. All of our financial procedures are transparent. You can apply for a loan with us here.

You and your family deserve a peace of mind and a worthy helper.

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