Hiring a domestic helper is a significant decision that can greatly impact your family’s daily life and household dynamics. Whether you’re a new parent seeking extra support or a busy professional in need of assistance, it’s crucial to navigate this process with careful consideration and awareness of the responsibilities involved.

If it’s your first time hiring a domestic helper, you’ll need to understand a variety of aspects, from legal requirements to assessing your family’s needs and expectations.

Guide to hiring a domestic helper in Singapore

When considering hiring a domestic helper, there are several crucial factors to keep in mind. Firstly, ensure you meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM):

  • At least 21 years old
  • Have no ongoing bankruptcy proceedings
  • Possessing the mental capacity to fulfill your responsibilities as an employer

Additionally, if it’s your first time hiring a helper, attending an Employer Orientation Programme is mandatory. When handling paperwork, whether through an agency or independently, remember to apply for a work permit from MOM and purchase necessary insurance and a security bond. Upon your helper’s arrival, arrange for a medical exam and set up monthly payments for her levy.

Before proceeding with things to check before hiring your helper, you need to determine your needs. Start by determining your budget to decide between a full-time or part-time maid.

  • Full-time maids: Live-in workers who provide round-the-clock assistance, typically working six days a week. Ideal for larger households with extensive chores and childcare needs, but may sacrifice privacy and flexibility.
  • Part-time maids: Offer flexibility and choice in scheduling, suitable for smaller homes with lighter workloads. Tailored to specific tasks or less frequent assistance, providing convenience without the commitment of a live-in arrangement.

Consider your budget, level of required assistance, pros and cons, and lifestyle preferences to choose the best option for your household.

Before hiring your Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) there are several steps you’ll need to take care of to ensure everything is legally in order:

  1. Work Permit Application: You’ll need to apply for your helper’s work permit online through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website. This involves a fee for application of $35 and issuance of $35.
  2. Security Bond and Insurance: Purchase a security bond worth $5,000 from any bank or insurance company, which will be automatically registered with MOM. Additionally, you’ll need to get personal accident and medical insurance for your helper, covering at least $60,000 and $15,000 respectively.
  3. Medical Examination: Within 14 days of employment, your helper should undergo a medical examination. Make sure she brings along the necessary medical examination form.
  4. Monthly Levy Payment: Set up a monthly GIRO payment to cover your helper’s levy. The amount varies based on eligibility for concessions, ranging from $60 to $450.
  5. Salary Arrangements: If your helper doesn’t have a bank account, consider helping her set one up for monthly salary transfers.

What are the things to check before hiring your helper?

1. Background check

Conduct thorough background checks on potential candidates. This should include criminal background checks, employment history verification, and checking references from previous employers. If your helper-to-be is leaving a contract early, find out why. Even if she is transferring from a completed contract, it pays to check her reasons for moving on. Investigate thoroughly and check for yourself via references.

2. Personal situation and future plans

Find out as much as you can. Marital status, for instance, may have some bearing on her interactions, while other details may affect her capabilities as an employee. Asking personal questions can feel a little intrusive, but it will help you in the long run.

It’s likely your helper is working here to help out their family back home and probably intends to return one day to their home country. Their plans may have relevance to how long they will stay with you, but also, by knowing their aspirations, you can help support their goals.

3. Religion

Often helpers from Indonesia are Muslim and as such, are unable to handle or eat pork or interact with the family pets. Equally, many helpers do not live by strict religious codes, but you should still check what personal boundaries she may have when it comes to what she can and can’t do/eat/touch because of religious or personal restrictions.

4. Children

If childcare is something your helper will be involved in, you need to make sure she likes kids. If your potential FDW is a fan of kids, then check what kind of playmate and care duties she might be to your children. Has she had experience with babies? Or the equally challenging teens?

Clearly communicate your expectations regarding childcare responsibilities, including any specific routines or activities you would like the domestic worker to follow. It is encouraged to bring your kids during interview so you can check their reaction and interaction.

5. Pets

If your household includes furry or slithery companions (not including the kids), it’s important to inquire whether the prospective helper has previous experience caring for pets. Additionally, ensure she is comfortable and willing to spend time with your animal companions, providing them with the care and attention they need.

6. Discuss terms of employment

Negotiate and finalise the terms of employment, including wages, benefits (if applicable), and any other relevant terms such as vacation time, sick leave, or overtime pay. By openly discussing and clarifying these terms, both the employer and the prospective employee can ensure mutual understanding and satisfaction with the employment arrangement.

7. Training

If necessary, provide training or orientation to the domestic worker to ensure they understand their responsibilities and how to perform their duties to your satisfaction. Make sure to introduce your family routine or tradition so they are able to adapt.

8. Written Agreement

Draft a written employment contract outlining the terms and conditions of employment. This should include details such as job duties, work hours, compensation, termination procedures, and any other relevant agreements. As stated by MOM, you are encouraged to sign an employment contract with your migrant domestic worker (MDW) and are required to sign a safety agreement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *