Those in Singapore who have difficulty balancing the demands of their professional lives and households—especially if they have children to care for—might find themselves searching through a domestic helper agency to find a housekeeper.
However, hiring a domestic helper can be a daunting experience with unpredictable outcomes. After all, you’re allowing a stranger to step into a personal space and manage it alongside you, and this means being prepared for anything that might come your way.
Employing domestic help will allow you to save time and energy by relieving you of duties that make it difficult to manage the more important aspects of your life. However, this is not a suitable lifestyle for everyone, as it comes with its own set of responsibilities and sacrifices. As such, before you start hiring someone, it might be beneficial to take certain things into account.
If you’re unsure of where to start, below are four considerations to make when hiring a domestic helper:
Your Personal Needs and Expectations
Firstly, you might want to ask yourself whether your household really needs a helper and the reasons why you might need that extra hand. Are you a single parent working a full-time job? Do you need someone to manage the children, elderly individuals, or persons with special needs in your household? Your needs will determine the kind of experience you’re looking for in a maid, allowing you to establish a clear set of expectations.
By informing your domestic help agency about these expectations, they’ll be able to better match you with the right applicants. This not only streamlines your hiring process, but also ensures that you find a maid who can properly address all your needs.
Your Tolerance to the Idea of a Non-Family Member Living in Your Home
The next question you should address is whether you can live with a lack of privacy or security. Are you prepared to deal with any concerns that may arise from having a domestic helper? Remember, even thorough background checks cannot guarantee complete safety or satisfaction on your end. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t increase your chances of hiring trustworthy house help.
Meticulous research and background checks will make it more likely for you to find a reliable maid for your household. You might want to search up the rules of the particular agency you’re looking to deal with, especially when it comes to replacing your housekeeper if things go wrong, so an agency’s credibility is crucial. Generally, you’ll want to engage with a helper agency Singapore residents already trust.
If you’re able to conduct face-to-face interviews, it’s also good to prepare a list of questions that encourage a thorough background check of each candidate. These questions can include past experience, candidate expectations, health conditions, and languages spoken.
Your Budget or Financial Resources
Before you start searching for the right domestic helper, you must consider your finances and current resources. There are certain financial requirements that are expected of you as an employer, and it’s best to be well acquainted with them for a smoother hiring and employment process. Besides having to pay a regular salary, you’re also expected to cover the costs of food, safe housing, medical fees, insurance plans, and the like.
Before anything else, you must be a Singaporean citizen, permanent resident, or expatriate with an employment pass and a household income of at least $30,000 per year. If you’re hiring from overseas, expect increased placement fees and additional document processing. There’s also a recurring levy—usually paid on a monthly basis—that must be paid on time as long as your housekeeper’s work permit is being used.
As there are many details involved in this process, it’s best to work alongside your hiring agency to make sure that everything is in order. No service comes for free, so you’re expected to allot a fair sum of money to maintain good household help.
The Type of Helper You Should Hire
In Singapore, you typically have the option of hiring between three types of helpers: fresh helpers, transfer helpers, and ex-Singapore helpers. For those who can afford to give all Sundays off and higher pay, hiring a transfer helper may be the best option. These are domestic helpers who are already currently working within the country, so you’re less likely to pay for additional placement and agency fees, and you’ll be able to conduct face-to-face interviews. Transfer helpers are also more experienced, so you won’t have to spend too much time supervising them.
Meanwhile, if you find yourself on a tighter budget with not enough resources to give regular Sundays off, hiring a fresh or ex-Singapore helper might be more appropriate. Since both types of helpers don’t currently reside in Singapore, more money must be allotted for their placement fees—this means that they typically have lower salaries compared to transfer helpers. The caveat is that you’ll be unable to conduct a face-to-face interview before they move to Singapore.
That being said, because ex-Singapore helpers have previously worked in the country, they’re likely to possess more experience than fresh helpers. Fresh helpers may require more supervision and training, so it’s best to assess whether you’re prepared for that kind of work.
The two most important things to consider when hiring a domestic helper are knowing what you need as an employer and assessing whether you can provide the things asked from you in return. Ensuring that your domestic help has enough days off, a decent salary, benefits, and a generally good working environment can encourage a long term relationship with results that you can count on.