Choosing the right maid agency can actually simplify the entire process of hiring a domestic worker. It can save you from doing the all the dreaded paperwork that comes with hiring a maid by yourself.
If you are able to find the right maid agency, the rest of the process of hiring a domestic worker is most likely to be smooth sailing.
Even so, you may want to hire a maid directly without an agency to reduce your cost.
Ground rules before hiring a maid
Do note that if you are hiring a domestic worker for the first time, you will need to attend an Employers’ Orientation Programme.
This programme will equip you with the basic knowledge on roles and responsibilities as an employer.
You can either do it online or onsite.
One thing to note, you need to attend the program 2 days before you submit the application for work permit.
5 Simple Steps to the Right Maid Agency
With so many maid agencies available in Singapore, here are 5 steps to guide you through engaging the right maid agency.
1. Locating Good Maid Agencies in Singapore
It is necessary to hire a domestic worker through a maid agency that has met all of the government approved standards.
To make things easier, MOM has established an online directory for employers to search for licensed employment agencies in Singapore.
In the directory, you will be able to view an agency’s demerit points, placement volume, retention and transfer rates. These information will be extremely helpful in deciding on the right maid agency to engage.
Mainly you want to find a maid agency with:
- Zero or low demerit points
- High or more than 55% retention rate
- Low or less than 0.5% transfer rate
More information on the statistics can be found in our full maid guide.
Caveat: Please note that agencies with demerit points does not necessarily mean they are not favoured by employers. Many times an agency may be penalised for something as small as not fulfilling paperworks on time to MOM and thus got penalized.
If you have located a maid agency externally, check against the directory because only licensed maid agencies are registered in the EA directory.
2. Check Reviews
Once you have identified the maid agencies that have met MOM’s standards, it is time to check the reviews.
This will provide you a clearer picture on how the maid agency operates.
Most agencies will inevitably have some bad reviews. Don’t discount them; see whether they have made a consistent effort to reply to all of the bad reviews and take actions to improve themselves.
Both good and bad reviews allow you to choose the agency best suited for your needs and daily routine.
You can find reviews of maid agencies on SGHomeNeeds.
3. Understanding Employment Fees
After you have shortlisted a few potential agencies, call the agencies and have a chat with them.
Find out about their employment fees. Most people look solely at the employment fee, and without much thought to it, reject those with high fees.
Difference in employment fees is mainly justified by their track records, good service or the standard of maids they offer.
Hence, it will be good to ask the agency with high employment fee to justify the fee before rejecting them.
Certain agencies would encourage employers to recover the amount paid by deducting it from their domestic workers’ monthly salaries.
We advise that you put some thought into it before deciding on the deduction. Your maid may not be pleased as they are unable to send sufficient remittances back home.
Furthermore, she may not be able to focus on her work if her mind is constantly burdened with financial woes and debts. Her relationship with you may also be strained.
If you really want to do a deduction, it will be advisable to reduce the monthly salary deductions through lower monthly instalments over a longer period of time.
4. Signing of a Safety Agreement
In Singapore, it is mandatory for the maid agency, employer and domestic worker to sign a safety agreement.
The safety agreement is to ensure that both you and your maid are aware of MOM’s safety regulations.
For instance, your maid should avoid performing dangerous tasks without any safety precautions, such as cleaning the exterior of your windows. This mainly applies to Singaporeans who are living in HDB flats which are usually very high from the ground.
Although safety regulations are stated in the contract, they are merely words on paper if no one in your household abides by them. A good maid agency would ensure that the safety of both you and your maid is covered in the contract.
This is mainly done by emphasising on the consequences of not adhering to these regulations.
You can find out more about the terms in a safety agreement here.
5. Taking The Time To Clarify Any Doubts
Lastly, you should take the time to clear any doubts you might have with the maid agency regarding its labour practices both in the recruiting and training processes.
This will help you eliminate any potential legal issues that you may have with the agency once the domestic worker starts working for you.
Here are some further commonly-asked questions that you may wish to ask the maid agency:
- Are the recruiting agencies, both here and in the source country, accredited /approved by any of the following?
- AEAS (Association of Employment Agencies Singapore)
- CASE (Consumers Association of Singapore)
- Embassies of workers’ home countries
- Are you Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) certified (Applicable only for hiring Filipina domestic workers)?
- Could you tell me more about the training program provided to your domestic workers?
- Enquiring about your domestic worker’s work experience (These questions may also be posed to your domestic worker)
Further Questions That You May Ask the Agency
- Does my domestic worker have any former job expertise? (E.g. babysitter, childcare teacher, nurse)
- Is my domestic worker averse to working within certain requirements? (E.g. children, elderly, disabled)
- Does my domestic worker speak English (or other preferred languages)?
- Are there any religious/cultural considerations I should be aware of?
- Can you itemise the breakdown of your agency recruitment fees?
- How much will my domestic worker be expected to pay and for what purposes? (Note: Your domestic worker should not be made to pay a Singapore agency fee of more than two months of the agreed salary)
- Are there any insurance schemes provided for security bonds? If not, are you able to provide recommendations?
- What are the accident insurance and medical insurance policies you can help provide for my domestic worker? (Note: It is to your advantage to know the range of options, not only the cheapest one. A comprehensive insurance policy covering more than the legally required minimum for hospitalisation may save you a lot of worry.)
- What follow up services will your agency provide after I employ my domestic worker?
- Does the employment agency provide a guarantee policy for aiding employers in replacing an incompatible domestic worker?
- Is there a hotline I might be able to call to address issues (e.g. disputes, counselling)?
- Please explain in detail the contractual terms with your agency. Ask for a thorough explanation concerning:
a. Liability claims
b. Agency fees and costs
c. Replacement fees and procedures
After going through this checklist, it is time for you to select the right maid agency for you and your family.
A good domestic worker is most likely to be someone who your kids will see as their ‘second mother’. Therefore, choosing the right maid agency is an integral step in ensuring that happens for you and your family.
In the case that you are still unable to bring yourself to trust local maid agencies and are wondering if there are other alternatives in searching for the right domestic worker for your family, do keep a lookout for our guide on how to hire a domestic worker entirely by yourself.
Find reliable maid agencies in Singapore
SGHomeNeeds provides a list of reliable helpers in Singapore in the following areas:
You can talk to SGHomeNeeds team or request for HomeMatch for a more personalised requirements more quickly and fuss-free.
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