Many Singapore households are enjoying the benefits and comfort that come with hiring a housekeeper. With families now busier with work and school more than ever, finding time to ensure that the house is sparkling and organized is becoming frustrating. Also, with parents having demanding jobs and roles in the workplace, hiring a maid is becoming a common practice.
Since a clean, organized home promotes vitality and well-being, a private housekeeper is an important resource in creating a healthy and safe family environment.
If you can’t spare some time to organize or clean up your household to ensure it’s free from bacteria and other health hazards, hiring a maid will be the best decision you will ever make. The maid hiring process can be overwhelming and frustrating, but with a guide, you can be sure to navigate through the process easily and find the right housekeeper for your family.
If you’re planning to hire a domestic helper, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires you to meet some compulsory requirements such as purchasing maid insurance. If you’re a first-time purchaser of insurance, fdw insurance advice on three areas of the coverage to look out for, including medical expenses cover, repatriation expenses cover, and personal liability cover, see more information here.
Go through the policy, read the terms and conditions of the policy, and ensure that it fulfils your employer’s requirements. Keep in mind that the best policy is the one with attributes that you prioritise the most.
Choosing an Agency
Approaching a reputable maid agency should be your first hiring step. Verify that the maid agency is certified to operate by the MOM. After settling for an agency, an agent will assess your requirements, needs, and preferences, such as young kids or elderly persons at home. With the maids’ profile, the agent will match you with a housekeeper capable of catering to your needs.
Most importantly, your agency will recommend an employer orientation programme before hiring a housekeeper. If you’re hiring a maid on a budget, use alternatives to agencies such as searching for a potential housekeeper online with directories. Use online profiles of potential maids, choose one that suits your needs by looking at their details such as nationality, age, salary expectations, work experience, work permit expiration date, and availability.
If you’re hiring a housekeeper with previous work experience in Singapore, their eligibility status shouldn’t be a concern. However, if the maid you are interested in hiring has no prior working experience in the country, you need to ensure that they fulfil the eligibility requirements set by MOM. The domestic worker you intend to hire has to be:
- Should be 23 to 50 years old.
- A citizen of a MOM approved territory of the country, including maids from Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Macau, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Korean, and Taiwan.
- Unrelated to you as the employer.
- Certified with not less than eight years of formal education.
- If a new maid in Singapore, she should be certified by Settling-In-Programme.
Work Permit Application
Although most agencies will apply for your housekeeper’s work permit on your behalf, you can also apply for the permit yourself if your agency does not provide the application services. You can apply for the permit either at a physical or online SingPost branch.
This step might seem simple, but you should not overlook it when hiring a foreign domestic worker (FWD) since working without a work permit or holding an invalid one is illegal and punishable by law. You risk a fine of approximately S$15,000 or a year’s jail term if MOM finds you without an FWD without a work permit.
If your housekeeper is a first-timer working in Singapore, it’s your responsibility to send her to a day’s Settling-In Programme within three days of her arrival. Ensure that your maid secures a SIP training programme by registering her for this program before arriving in Singapore. Note that you will bear the SIP costs, which amounts to about S$75. The programme is conducted in your maid’s native language and she can only begin working after this training.
The FDW working terms are set out in your housekeeper’s contract. These terms and conditions should be a mutual agreement between you and the maid. If you find it challenging coming up an employment contract, request your agency to draft one for you. It’s crucial to ascertain that the contract covers the following terms:
- Placement loan;
- Specific off days monthly;
- Compensation in place of off days;
- Termination notice period;
- Compensation following a termination notice;
To maintain flexibility for the FDW and employer, early termination is allowed. Either you or the maid can end the contract, as long as they give the notice period stated in the contract. If the notice period is not given, the party terminating the employment contract should pay compensation in place of notice.
MOM stipulates safe work practices that you must comply with if planning to hire an FDW. More so, if you’re set to hire a new or transfer maid, MOM requires you and the housekeeper to sign a safety agreement. Note that new maids are the first-timers in Singapore from other countries while transfer maid includes those already working legally in the country but wish to work for a different family. Therefore, if renewing a maid’s contract, you don’t need to sign the safety agreement.
The chief purpose of the safety agreement is to see that you and the FDW understand and comply with MOM’s guidelines on cleaning exterior windows to avoid falls. If your FDW has to clean exterior windows from your apartment or condo home, the safety agreement states that the maid should understand the requirement for window cleaning. You, the WDW, and the employment agency should sing this agreement. The three parties should keep a copy of the contract. You are responsible for ensuring that your maid comprehends the agreement and signs it in her native language.
Before hiring an FDW, ensure that you conduct an in-depth interview with them, preferably face-to-face, to gauge if the maid meets your needs. An interview is an excellent opportunity for your future housekeeper to have a hands-on look at her living environment and future work. When hiring a domestic worker, ensure that she is covered by reliable insurance and can access quality healthcare if need be.