Hiring a Domestic Helper in Singapore – Everything You Need to Know

Singapore may be a fast-paced country, but if you need a helping hand in your household, you’ll quickly learn that hiring a domestic helper is quite affordable.

If you are busy, have many work commitments but need someone to maintain the house and cook your meals while you’re away, you’re in luck as hiring a domestic helper in Singapore is quite an easy process.

As most helpers in Singapore are from the Philippines or Indonesia and are diligent women who are working to support their families back home, you’ll learn that there are some rules and paperwork required to hiring a domestic helper.

What to expect when hiring a domestic helper

If you are a first-time employer or have changed domestic workers frequently, do note that you have to complete an Employers’ Orientation Programme, which involves attending in person (S$28-30), or taking a 3-hour online course (S$40). First-time employers must complete the EOP at least 2 working days before submitting a Work Permit application.

When hiring a domestic worker, you should also be prepared to specify why you want to employ them; the reasons can be having young children, an elderly family member or someone with a disability in your household.

The Employers’ Orientation Programme will help you understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a foreign domestic worker (FDW).

To hire a domestic helper, know that a a maid agency will find you a one, and will usually offer you the chance to interview several candidates. You can source a maid yourself, but the process can be confusing. Some expats also help their maid find work by word of mouth.

Work Permit

Work Permit (Foreign Domestic Worker) Employers of foreign domestic workers are required to secure a work permit for their domestic worker. Each work permit is valid for a period of two years. Once approved by MOM, an In-Principle Approval letter/Letter of Notification will be sent to you. Your domestic worker will be required to present a copy of the In-Principle Approval letter/Letter of Notification upon her arrival in Singapore.

Cost breakdown when hiring a domestic helper in Singapore

To employ a domestic worker, you will have to go to a domestic worker employment agency (commonly referred to as a “maid agency”) in Singapore. An employment agency will also process the necessary documents for hiring a domestic worker for the employer, as well as facilitate the replacement of a domestic worker, if necessary.

Here are some fees to keep in mind:

  • Employer’s orientation program: S$28-$40 depending on whether you do the program online or in person
  • Agency fee – between S$100-S$2,000 (depending on agency)
  • Settling-in Programme – s$75 (if the domestic helper is working in Singapore for the first time)
  • Work Permit application – S$30
  • Work Permit issuance – S$30
  • Foreign Domestic Worker Levy – S$265 / month
  • Security deposit – S$5,000

In addition to the hiring costs, employers are also responsible for providing accommodation, insurance, airfare for bi-annual home leave and transfer costs.

In terms of monthly salary, the main deciding factors are experience and training. However, a domestic helper’s nationality can also play a part.

For instance, the minimum salary for helpers from Philippines and Indonesia is S$500, while those from Myanmar will receive S$450 every month.

Annual holidays

Domestic helpers in Singapore will have Sunday and public holidays off, plus a two-week holiday every two years to their home country. If your domestic helper agrees to work on her rest day, you should compensate her with at least 1 day’s salary or a replacement rest day taken within the same month.


When hiring your new domestic helper,  you may need to take some personal time off from work to assist your newly employed domestic worker in adapting to her new living and working conditions.

It can take anywhere between one and three months before your domestic worker learns how to carry out basic household chores, during which time you may have to help her understand her role and responsibilities.


Take some time time and effort to discuss with your domestic worker any issues or questions on work expectations and the household rules. A domestic worker may be afraid of voicing her concerns, but it is best to urge her to do so.

Do keep in mind that your domestic helper may not be as skilled or accustomed to conversing in your preferred language. It’s important to be patient in your communication with her as it may take her some time to fully comprehend your instructions.

Also published on Medium.

Andreea swears by her love for urban places, architecture, and Singapore, which is why she crafts content for Greyloft. When not immersed in adventures around the world, she loves living a bohemian life, where a good book has to always be paired with a pretty view.