I actually took care of my 3 children without a domestic helper for the last 28 years because I had the help of a very reliable babysitter and support of childcare centres when the children were young. The most important person in the last 28 years has been my mother-in-law who took care of my children when my husband and I were at work. Now she is growing older and weaker, we decided on hiring a maid (also known as a domestic helper or Foreign Domestic Worker) to take care of the household chores.
Checklist for hiring a maid
I realised that my research and search for our maid can be long and confusing. To help you out I have created this checklist with my insights:
1. If you decide to use an Employment Agency make sure they are properly licensed
Do check track records and details at the EA directory at the Ministry Of Manpower (MOM).
2. What does their fee include?
Make sure the list of services included in the fee is clearly stated and explained.
3. Ensure you are eligible as an employer
Check if you meet the MOM list of requirements for an employer. I have summarised the requirements below:
- You need to be 21 years old and above
- Can not be an undischarged bankrupt
- You need to have the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibility as an employer
- And the financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep a maid
- You should not be diagnosed with a medical condition that may impair the ability to supervise and control the well-being of the maid. Please refer to the list of medical conditions at Employer Requirements at mom.gov.sg
- If you are a first-time employer, you need to attend an Employer Orientation Programme. You can get a pre-hiring checklist to help you before you hire the maid.
4. Ensure the maid is eligible to work
The maid (domestics helper or FDW) has to meet the requirements below before she can work in Singapore:
- Must be female
- 23 to 50 years old at the time of application
- Come from an approved source country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand.
- Do take note of (additional) requirements that are set by the country where the maid comes from. For more details, please refer to the respective embassy.
- The maid needs to have a minimum of 8 years of formal education with a recognised certificate. Please do check FDW eligibility at mom.gov.sg for the list of recognised certificates in the approved source countries.
- The maid must be employed at the home address as stated in the employer’s NRIC
- The maid cannot be related to the employer
- She cannot be in Singapore during the work permit application. She should arrive after you have the in-principle approval and have arranged for a security bond of S$ 5000 (see below). For Malaysian maids you do not require this security bond.
- The maid needs to attend a Settling-In Program (SIP) if she is a first-time worker in Singapore.
5. MOM requires a Security Bond and Insurance
- A security bond is a binding pledge to pay the government expenses or fines if you break the law or the conditions governing the employment of a maid.
- This S$ 5000 bond can be arranged in a package with the Medical and Personal Accident insurance that you also need to purchase for your maid. It must be arranged before the maid arrives in Singapore.
- The medical insurance needs to cover at least S$15,000 for medical expenses and S$40,000 of Personal Accident coverage for the helper. There are optional / higher covers that the employer may want to add to the mandatory requirements as offered by the different insurers. Go and compare the different packages on our platform. Do remember that the employer is responsible for all the medical expenses that the maid incurs and that your liability as an employer is not limited by the minimum insurance cover set by MOM. So higher coverages may be the responsible way to go.
- If your maid is from the Philippines, you are required by the Philippines embassy to also purchase what is called a “Performance Bond”. This bond can also be part of your Insurance package. Go to our site and select that your maid is from the Philippines and you can then choose to include or exclude the Performance Bond in the insurance package.
6. Medical examination
The maid (domestic worker or FDW) needs to go for a medical examination within 2 weeks of arriving in Singapore. You can download the medical examination form from MOM. The medical examination screens if the helper is fit to work and for 4 types of infectious disease: tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis and malaria. She has to pass the tests before the work permit can be issued.
The maid will have to go for six monthly screening over the 2 years’ duration of her work permit.
Make sure to start on time
Do note that the hiring and acclimatisation process can take some of your time. My maid was new to Singapore and adapting to us. We grew close over time and she has now been with us for 6 years. She has become a valuable member of our family. A family member that also needs insurance for peace of mind of your family.