1. Performance bond
    If you’re employing an Indonesian maids service, hiring or renewing a contract will set you back a further S$70. This fee covers a performance bond of S$6,000, the full figure of which you’ll only need to pay if you breach the terms of employment.

The bond exists to protect Indonesian migrant workers by ensuring employers abide by the terms of employment contracts.

Similarly, if you’re employing a maid from the Philippines, you’ll need to pay about S$40 for a S$2,000 bond.

  1. Agency fee
    Agency fees can vary greatly, depending on the services that are included in the fee. Agencies don’t typically publish their fees but you can expect to pay around S$1000.

Be sure to enquire when you encounter very low maids service fees to avoid any unethical operators.

  1. Settling-In Programme
    You will have to send your domestic helper to a Settling-In Programme (S$75) upon arrival, which will cover topics like employment conditions, safety and relationship and stress management.
  2. Work permit application and issuance
    The work permit application costs S$30 and you pay another S$30 when it’s successfully issued. This is renewable and is valid for up to two years.
  3. Medical and Personal accident insurance
    As the employer, you are responsible for buying insurance for your domestic helper. The minimum coverage is as follows:

Medical insurance: S$15,000
Personal accident insurance: S$60,000
Most insurance companies offer an insurance policy that covers both aspects with premium from around S$250 for 26 months.

  1. FDW levy
    The foreign domestic worker levy is paid directly to the government. The normal monthly rate is S$265 and the concessionary rate is S$60.

You qualify for the concessionary rate if you have young child or grandchild, and aged person, or a person with disability living at the same registered address with you.

Check if you meet the following conditions:
You or your spouse has a child or grandchild who is a Singaporean citizen below the age of 16 years old who is living at the same address.
You or your spouse is a Singaporean citizen aged 65 years or above, or you live with a parent or grandparent of that age in the same address.
You or a family member has a disability.

  1. Medical examinations and regular check-ups
    The initial medical examination required to apply for a work permit costs about S$80.

Subsequently, domestic helpers are required to go for a medical check-up every six months for the following tests:

Tests for Frequency
Pregnancy Every 6 months
Syphilis Every 6 months
HIV Every 2 years
Tuberculosis Once, upon 2 years of stay in Singapore
Source: MOM
The costs of these check-ups will vary according to the medical clinic you patronise.

  1. Travel expenses
    You’re also responsible for the airfare of your domestic helper when she returns home. Get a credit card that gives you travel benefit and rewards to save you a couple of dollars on airfare.

Beyond the financial costs
All in all, it’s easy to see that hiring a full-time domestic helper who lives in the family is a very significant financial investment. Even if you’re willing to overlook the one-off costs like the agency fee, the monthly outlay alone will cost over S$600.

In addition, a live-in domestic helper is having another member in the household, which means managing another relationship. Communication breakdowns and cultural misunderstandings can be quite stressful for both sides, especially in the beginning.