EnterAsia Information Services

Living with a Maid

Employment of a Foreign Domestic Worker in Singapore

Hiring a Foreign Maid

Employing a maid in Singapore is easy and inexpensive when compared to other countries. Initially you have to evaluate your needs for either a mainly foreign full time live in maid or a locally based part time maid.

If you have access to EnterAsia’s online step-by-step relocation guide to Singapore follow the step on employing a maid in the relevant chapter.

Foreign maids are hired as foreign domestic workers from Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Maids from Indonesia and Sri Lanka are paid less as they do not speak English as well as most of the Filipino maids. The monthly salary for Indonesian Maids is SGD 280 Filipinas earn between SGD 320 and 350 a month. Foreign maids must be at least 23 years old and not older than 38 years and have to proof eight years of formal education.

They need to pass an entry test comprising multiple choice quastions in English. At times there may be a shortage of Indonesian maids.

Note: Male bachelors for obvious reasons cannot employ foreign maids.

There are three choices for hiring:

Involve a maid agency
Arrange a work permit for a maid by yourself
Transfer a maid from a former employer







Employers Orientation Program

First-time employers of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) have to undergo a compulsory half-day orientation program on their roles and responsibilities. Course Fee SGD 20.00.

MOM will interview randomly selectedForeign Domestic Workers working for the first time in Singapore during their initial months of employment. These interviews will allow MOM to determine if theemployee has adjusted to the work environment in Singapore and to reiterate the importance of safe working conditions as well as their rights and responsibilities.  Employers will be notified of the scheduled date and time for the interview, if their maids have been selected.


  • Addresses
  • Download Form
PSB Academy
#01-11 490 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
Tel: 6885 1050 and 6885 1023
Ministry of Manpower
120 Kim Seng Road (Block H)
Tel: 6438 5122
Tel: 6339 5505



Full Time Maids

For a full time live-in maid you should calculate around S$1000 per month plus hiring costs and airfare tickets for the bi-annual home leave and return. Monthly salaries for Filipinas average S$350-S$400 and depend on the country of origin, experience and English language abilities. Indonesian maids are paid SGD 280 per month onwards. As usual expatriates tend to pay more than the locals. There is an additional food and toiletries allowance of S$150-180 if the maid is not eating the family’s food and receives shampoo, soap and toothpaste from her employer.

To ensure prompt salary payment, salaries need to be paid into the maid’s bank account in Singapore. This is a useful option as bank transaction records of salary payment will useful in the event of any salary dispute. Foreign domestic workers who have been paid promptly by their employers can choose to keep their current arrangements.

More info on salaries

Foreign domestic workers applying for a work permit must be at least 23 years old and should have at least 8 years of formal education. They have to take an English multiple -choice test, including basic numerical and literacy knowledge before they are granted work permits. This should ensure that they understand safety instructions and are able to function in an urban environment.

It is compulsory for maids to have a thorough medical check up on arrival.

In addition to instructions about tasks required, be sure to instruct your maid on the necessary level of hygiene and childcare practices which may differ from her home country.

First aid training/CPR may be a good idea, and check if she can swim!

The Singapore Government requires a monthly foreign worker levy of S$265 from non-residents and you are responsible for the maid’s medical care and a medical check-up (about S$50) every 6 months. Inquire if you qualify for the reduced levy for working mothers with children or families with senior relatives to take care of at the Parenthood Hotline at Tel: 1800-5110000. For Indonesian Maids you have to pay a  one time hiring special fee of SGD 250.

Employers who change their maids five times or more in a year need to attend an orientation program for employers and may be interviewed by the Ministry of Manpower to establish the reason for the changes. Future applications for foreign maids may be rejected.

  • Pay Levy
  • Publications
  • Info
Information Kit and A Handy Guide for Foreign Domestic Workers
Ministry of Manpower
Work Permit Department
Tel: 1800 238 5122
Email inquiries:mom_hq@mom.gov.sg
Maids Handbook
Advance Link PTE LTD
ISBN 981 4032 80 8
Available in Bookshops
Cooking for expats
by Paula Humphrey
Maid Agency fees (including maid’s flight) or
Transfer Costs if maid is already in Singapore
Home leave ticket or cash every two years
Return ticket at the end of the employment (one way only)
Holiday and Birthday cash presents
Insurance and Security Bond




Part Time Maids

Pay for part time maids for laundry, housekeeping and cleaning starts at S$10 per hour and S$ 15 per hour when an employment/housekeeping agency is involved. Sometimes agencies merely match a client with a local maid for a commission while others manage the maids and replace them if necessary.

In the latter case, the agency employs the maid and pays their salary, CPF and insurance. Many of the maids are under full-time maids contracts and then work part time for the individual household. If you just want a service to clean your home and and iron your clothes four times a month (5 hours) you end up paying around S$ 300/month for a 3-bedroom apartment. Insist that the same maid works for you all the time. One time cleaning before you move into your home costs from S$ 280 onwards depending on the size of the home.

  • Addresses
  • Websites


A-Team Amahs & Cleaners
Part-Time Maids and Nannies 

(Rated BEST VALUE by SimplyHer Magazine)
Tel: 6846 0428 / 6846 9245 / 6846 9247
SA Home Services
Contact Claire
Tel: 6 777 2845
Amahs on Wheels
Tel: 6 827 2708
HP: 9688 3010/ 9762 1008
Worthy Workers Services
Tel: 6 534 5812
Nation Employment Maid Agency
Tel: 6353 8199
Tel: 6 282 3848


Homemaker Total Home Management
#01-281 Selegie complex
257 Selegie Road
Tel: 6 241 0028
Tel: 6 883 0470
Maid Brigade
Tel: 6 365 2112


Your Maid Agency

Before you enter into an agreement with a maid agency (there are over 700 in Singapore!) read the relevant chapter in the Step by Step Guide to avoid disappointment. Call different agencies as fees vary. You may be charged a lump sum consisting of an agency fee and a documentation fee. According to a study of the Straits Time in December 2001 the agency vary between S$ 200 and S$ 788. Maids hired by an agency need to take up a loan of between S$800 and S$1800 which is deductible in rates from their monthly salary. Sometimes agencies require you to pay the maids loan off on their arrival in advance. At the moment different agencies have different terms and clauses in their contracts which makes it very difficult to compare prices and services.
Arrange for counseling and an exchange in case you cannot get along with the chosen maid but be aware of a replacement fees and a levy while your former maid is awaiting transfer. You must inform the agency of a transfer or risk a penalty of S$ 1000.

A huge selection of maid agencies can be found at Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road and Peninsula Plaza at High Street. Some agencies offer online search facilities but we advise you to visit their office first. Check if they are registered with the Ministry of Manpower by vising the web site below. The MOM lists over 1370 employment agencies and their demerit points. Since this year February employment agencies with over 12 demerit points will be barred from getting a license. Read about the rules of infringement here.


Maid Agency have to make available their suggested maid’s employment history to their prospective employers. The miniitry of Manpower runs a website where information on the number of different employers and the employment period will be posted and can be viewed by the agencies.. No specific information or details



The Consumer Association of Singapore has set up CaseTrust, an accreditation scheme for employment agencies. This will ensure that maid agencies maintain acceptable ethical and professional standards.The accreditation scheme is now mandatory for all agencies. Note: new agencies do not require an accreditation in their first year of operations. Accredited maid agencies are assessed for fair-trading practices, maid-recruitment procedures and after-placement services by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and listed on MOM’s website.

If you suspect an agency to have infringed the regulations you can download a feedback form here.

We have compiled a whole chapter on interviewing, selecting and training a maid in e-relocation Singapore. We provide tools such as the Maid Interview Assistant, the Maid Contract Assistant and To-Do-ListsEmergency Lists etc. for maids which you can use freely once you have qualified for the password. How to qualify>>>

  • Addresses
  • Info
  • Websites
Consumer Association Singapore 
Ulu Pandan Community Building
#05-01, 170 Ghim Moh Road

For consumer advice and complaints handling:
9.00am to 1.00pm, 2.00pm to 4.00pm
(Mondays to Fridays)
For CASE Legal Clinic and Consumer Hotlines:
Tel: 6463 1811
Fax: 6467 9055
1.00pm to 4.00pm (Saturdays)
http://www.case.org.sg/index.htmSmall Claims Tribunal
2 Havelock Road
#05-00 Apollo Centre
Tel: 6435-5937
Fax: 6435-5994 (general)
Fax: 6536-4478 (lodgment by fax)
Association of Employment Agencies
9 Jalan Kukoh #03-73
Tel: 68362618
Fax: 68362690

Check accreditation and Demerit Points (DP) – if an Employment Agency has 12 demerit points it will be barred from license renewal

Directory of Employment Agencies



Arrange a Work Permit


If you want to bring a foreign maid from abroad or have a good friend choose one in her country of origin this may be a good alternative.

Obtain an application form by calling the help line of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and visit their web site. Here, you can also download an updated version of a guide and a checklist and check on the levy you need to pay for your maid. Currently this is S$345 per month.

The MOM also supplies online videos in different languages for your maid to explain about her duties and regulations.

Employment Agencies’ List Accredited by CASE
Accreditation Scheme Singapore by AEAS
Association of Employment Agencies (AEAS)
Embassy-Approved Employment Agencies List
Ministry of Manpower (MoM) Work Permit Info
Work Permit Renewal Assistance
Info on Work Permit Renewal
See also Maid Insurance.

Transfer a Maid



If you are lucky, you find a maid who has already worked in Singapore and just needs to be transferred. Many expats like to help their maids if they want to stay on in Singapore by advertising them on the information boards in expat frequented supermarkets.

The maid needs to undergo a medical examination if the last dates back more than 6 months ago.

The MOM also wants you to sign an Inter-Bank Giro (IGB) application for the Central Provident Fund Board. The Workers Levy is deducted on the 17th of each month. If your account is empty you have to pay a hefty fine for late payment! In repeated cases the work permit may be cancelled.