Singapore Budget 2018: You may have to pay a higher levy for your maid from April 2019

File photo: Maids undergoing training inside a maid agency at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre in 2014.
The Straits Times

Maid employers who are not eligible for foreign domestic worker levy concessions will have to pay a monthly levy of S$300 ($228), up from the current S$265, for their first maid employed from April next year.

Such employers who choose to employ a second maid without a levy concession will have to pay more too. The monthly levy will increase from S$265 to S$450 – or S$185 more.

In his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 19), Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat said that maid employers who are currently paying a S$60 concessionary levy will continue to pay the same amount.

Families who need care for elderly, children under the age of 16 or relatives with disabilities will qualify for the concessionary rate.

The criteria allows for roughly 80% of maid employers to take advantage of the concession.

The qualifying age for levy concessions under the aged person scheme will also be raised from 65 to 67, due to improving life expectancy and health of Singaporeans, Mr Heng added.

Households which enjoy the levy concession under the aged person scheme, or which are successful in their application for the concession before April 1, 2019, will pay the same monthly amount on and after the date.

In the past decade, the number of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore has seen a 40% increase to 240,000 workers in 2017.

“We must ensure that FDW demand is commensurate with need and avoid an over-dependence on FDWs,” Mr Heng said.

The Manpower Ministry is also experimenting with a pilot Household Services Scheme, according to a report last month by Channel NewsAsia, to help satisfy the increasing demand for part-time household services and offset the need for foreign domestic workers.