hiring a household helper


Having a maid take care of household chores gives you more time to focus on more important things, like working on your personal and professional improvement, spending time with your family, or enjoying leisurely pursuits. However, finding a good maid that suits your household’s needs can be a tedious process. 

Many Singaporean families struggle to find a helper who’s a good fit with their household, and as such, they tend to rely on a maid agency Singapore families trust to help them with the task. That being said, it’s important to have awareness of some of the mistakes that could get you stuck in the hiring process in the first place. Here are some of them:

Not Complying with the Rules Set by the Ministry of Manpower for Employers

In Singapore, there are two primary ways you can hire a maid: hiring a maid directly or through a maid agency. Choosing to hire a maid directly has several benefits; you have more control over the hiring process, you don’t have any agency fees to pay, and you’re able to build a good relationship with your maid from the start. But before you can even start the process of hiring a maid, you need to comply with the requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) first.

According to the MOM, you’re qualified to be an employer if you meet the following criteria:

  • You’re 21 years old and above
  • You’re not an undischarged bankrupt
  • You have the mental capacity to fully understand your roles and duties as an employer

Since maids in Singapore must live with their employers, you’re given a large set of responsibilities to ensure the safety and well-being of your maid. As such, you need to be of sound mind and have the financial capacity to support your maid’s compensation and basic needs.  

If you’re hiring a maid for the first time, you need to attend the Employer Orientation Programme (EOP). This 3-hour programme is designed to help you understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a foreign domestic worker. Attending the EOP in a classroom will cost you around 35 SGD to 60 SGD. Attending the programme online, on the other hand, will cost you 35 SGD.

Being Unfamiliar with a Singapore’s Work Permit Requirements for Maids

The MOM also created a list of requirements maids need to fulfil for them to receive their work permits. The requirements are as follows:

  • Maids have to be female (male maids are allowed under extremely rare cases and are usually hired to take care of the male elderly)
  • Maids must be between 23 and 50 years old
  • Maids must at least have eight years of formal education
  • Maids must come from approved nations, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand.
  • Maids must not be on a tourist visa or sponsored by another employer

If you plan to hire a maid directly, you should familiarise yourself with these requirements. Otherwise, you could be fined between SGD 5,000 and SGD 30,000, imprisoned for up to 1 year, or both if you’re caught employing a foreign domestic helper without a valid work permit. 

You should also be knowledgeable about the basic duties of a foreign domestic helper. Generally, a maid is tasked to do the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and washing and ironing of clothes. They can also take care of children, elderly family members, and pets. If you deploy your maid to do work that’s outside their job description, you could face legal repercussions.

Choosing a Maid Agency That Offers Rates That Are Too Good to Be True

Working with a maid agency is a more convenient solution if you don’t have the time or experience to hire a foreign domestic helper. Agencies have a large selection of highly trained and skilled maids who can perform their duties with great efficiency. As such, you’ll have an easier and quicker time finding a maid. If you’re having trouble choosing a maid, the agency will gladly match you with a maid that fits your requirements. However, most agencies will charge you between 1,000 SGD to 3,000 SGD for their services. This fee usually includes the cost of your maid’s insurance, airfare, and application.

To save money, some Singaporeans would rather look for an agency that offers cheaper rates. Though there’s nothing wrong with finding ways to cut your expenses, choosing an agency that offers services for a price that’s too good to be true isn’t the ideal compromise. Agencies that charge lower fees typically don’t have the best candidates to offer or have a history of providing their clients with inefficient applicants. They also might not provide their domestic helpers with proper training, medical care, insurance, or security bonds. 

You want to hire a maid because you want your home, kids, and elderly family members to be well taken care of. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to work with a dependable agency that can help you get your money’s worth. To find a maid agency that offers excellent services at a reasonable price range, it’s good to do some research. You might also want to visit the agencies’ websites to check their legitimacy and to read comments from their previous customers.

Hiring a maid in Singapore can be challenging, and many Singaporeans may find themselves making mistakes that can lengthen the hiring process. However, if you familiarise yourself with these three common mistakes, you can save yourself the hassle of encountering problems when hiring directly or through an agency.