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How Much Does Domestic Help Cost?

Did you know? The overall cost of hiring a domestic helper ranges between $6,470 to $11,390 per year. This consists of your helper’s monthly salary, government levies, agency fees, orientation programmes and insurance. You would also need to factor in expenses such as food and daily necessities.

As we get busier with our daily jobs, the need for hiring domestic help to share our daily responsibilities becomes greater. Your domestic helper can become your ‘right-hand man’ to take care of your house, your children and your daily chores. So how much does it cost to hire a domestic help? Here’s a summary of the average cost of hiring a domestic help.

Basic salary of domestic helpers

The salary of any domestic helper is dependent on two factors: experience and nationality. The average basic salary for domestic helper is around $516.75 per month.

However, if you were to opt for domestic helpers from the Philippines, you will need to fork out at least $570 per month. This is due to the Philippines government’s salary revision for domestic helpers from the Philippines. Domestic helpers from Indonesia are the second most costly in terms of basic salary. If you want to hire Indonesian domestic helpers, you will need to be pay at least $550 per month.

On the other spectrum, maids from Myanmar and Sri Lanka have a slightly lower basic salary. For Sri Lankan domestic helpers, you will only need to fork out $497 per month. The minimum wage for Myanmar domestic helper is $450 per month.

Philippine domestic helpers command the highest pay among the four nationalities because of their natural language. In general, Philippine domestic helpers can understand English much better than the rest. Indonesians are ranked second because of their ability to speak Bahasa and understand some English. Thus, compared to the Sri Lankan and Myanmar domestic helpers, it is much easier for you to communicate with a Filipino or Indonesian.

Apart from their nationality and language ability, the other factor that determines their salary is their experience. Experienced domestic helpers can command anything between 5-20% premium in salary. This is especially true if they have experience in taking care of children or the elderly. You might even want to find one that cooks well.

Foreign domestic worker levy

Although you do not have to make CPF contributions for your foreign domestic worker, you will need to pay a monthly levy. This levy will be paid to the Singapore government. According to Ministry of Manpower, the levy rate is either $60 (concessionary) or $265 (normal) per month.

To qualify for the concessionary rate, you will need to meet one of the three criteria:
1) If you have a Singapore citizen child or grandchild living with you that is below the age of 16 (Young child scheme/Young grandchild scheme)
2) If you are aged 65 and above, or live with an elderly family member (Aged person scheme for employer, parent or grandparent)
3) If you have a person with a medical condition who needs help with at least one activity of daily living (ADL) in your household (Persons with disabilities scheme).

Fees to be paid to the agency

There are several fees that your agency will charge you when sourcing for a new domestic helper. The first is the agency fee that your agency will charge to you. The agency fee can range anything from $100 to $2,000. It is important for you to check with your chosen agency on their fees before engaging them. It is important to always check with them on the itemised fees that you are paying for to ensure you do not overpay.

If you are hiring a domestic helper that is working in Singapore for the first time, there is an additional $75 settling-in programme fee. For first-time employers, you will also need to take a mandatory course known as Employers’ Orientation Programme. This will be a one-time fee of $28 – $46 for the course.

Insurance for domestic helpers

The last cost that you need to take into consideration is insurance cost. Based on the Ministry of Manpower’s policy, you need to get insurance cover for your domestic helpers for medical and personal accident. Medical coverage has to be at least $15,000 per year. Personal accident coverage needs to be at least $60,000 per year post-October (up from $40,000 previously). A quick comparison across insurers show that the insurance cost is around $250 p.a.
P.S. For those who want to grab a bargain, you can get your insurance from insurers’ online portal using their promo codes.

So how much should you set aside for domestic helpers?

The overall cost of hiring a domestic helper ranges between $6,470 to $11,390 per year. The final fee is dependent on the type of domestic helper, whether you qualify for a concessionary levy and agency fees. Of course, you may want to factor in living expenses such as food and daily necessities in your budget as well. On an average, you can expect to set aside $8,000 per year if you want to hire a domestic helper to take some of the burden off your shoulders.

This article was originally published on bankbazaar.sg and re-published on singaporeschild.com.sg with permission.

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