Employer requirements for hiring an FDW

As an employer, you need to meet the eligibility criteria before hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW).

To hire an FDW, you must:
  • Be 21 years old and above
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Have the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibility as an employer.
  • We will also consider your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep the FDW in an acceptable accommodation. ( Tax Income submission or Tax declaration form which our agency will provide)
  • If you are a first time FDW employer, you must attend an Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) before you apply for an FDW.

You can apply for a second FDW if you have caregiving needs, such as:

  • Having 2 or more children below the age of 18 living with you.
  • A parent or parent-in-law over 60 years old living with you.

You will also be assessed on your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep more than one FDW in acceptable accommodation as above.

As an employer, you are responsible for the health and well-being of your foreign domestic worker (FDW). You should provide for rest days, proper accommodation, adequate medical care and safe work conditions.

Rest days To ensure that your foreign domestic worker gets enough mental and physical rest, you should allow her to have a regular rest day.

Your FDW is entitled to a weekly rest day if her Work Permit was issued or renewed after 1 January 2013.

You and your FDW should mutually agree on which day of the week she should take the rest day. To avoid disputes, both of you could have this agreement in writing.

If your FDW agrees to work on her rest day, you should compensate her with one of the following:

  • At least 1 day’s salary.Your FDW has to be paid at least one day’s wage for each restday forgone. The FDW’s daily wage is calculated by dividing hermonthly salary by 26 working days, as there are typically 4 weeks(and therefore 4 rest days) in a month.
  • A replacement rest day taken within the same month.

For more info on rest day requirements: http://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/publications/infocus/infocus-issue-special-rest-day.pdf

You will have to pay a levy for your foreign domestic worker (FDW) every month using GIRO.

What is the foreign worker levy?

The foreign worker levy, commonly known as “levy”, is a pricing mechanism to regulate the number of foreign workers in Singapore.

As an employer, you don't have to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for your FDW. However, you must a pay monthly levy for her.

If your FDW is a first-time FDW, the levy will begin on the 5th day of her arrival (including the arrival date). Otherwise, the levy will begin the next day after she arrives.

The levy ends when the Work Permit is cancelled or expires.

The levy rate for FDWs is as follows:

Type of levy Monthly rate Daily rate
Normal $265 $8.72
Concessionary $60 $1.98

Daily levy rate applies only to workers who did not complete a full calendar month. The daily levy rate is calculated as follows: (Monthly levy rate x 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.

The concessionary rate applies to families with a young child, elderly member or person with disability. Find out if you qualify for levy concession under our “Levy Concession” help section.

You must pay the levy via General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO).The levy for each month will be automatically deducted from your bank account on the 17th of the following month (or the next working day if it falls on a weekend or public holiday). You should maintain enough funds in your account before the deduction date.

  • To help families who hire FDWs to care for family members who require constant attention such as young children, elderly and disabled family members, the Government has given a FDW Levy concession of $95 per month to such employers. These families pay a concessionary levy of $170 instead of the full FDW levy of $265.
  • To provide more support to families who care for frail elderly or persons with disability, as long as he/she has moderate to severe disabilities, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will give a $120 grant per monthto households with a per capita monthly income of up to $2,200. This will include those with sensory impairment, autism or more severe intellectual disabilities. This is over and above theFDW Levy concession of $95 per month for households with elderly, and covers the rise in costs from having to compensate a FDW for working on her rest days.

The FDW Grant is administered by the Centre for Enabled Living (CEL). More details, including the application process and pre-requisite training is available on the CEL website

(http://www.cel.sg). For further clarification, employers may wish to contact CEL at their infoline 1800 8585 885.

You must pay your foreign domestic worker (FDW) the monthly salary that you declare to us. You need to pay the salary within 7 days of the end of the month.

As part of the Work Permit application, you must declare the fixed monthly salary that your FDW will be receiving.

The salary period must not exceed 1 month.

It is not advisable for you to hold your FDW's salary for safekeeping as this can lead to misunderstandings if the employment relationship turns sour or if either party decides to end the employment relationship prematurely. You should allow your FDW to manage her own salary to minimise unnecessary misunderstandings.

How to pay

You can transfer the salary directly into the FDW’s bank account in Singapore. The bank book should be kept by your FDW.

If salaries are paid in cash, you must keep a record of the salary and be able to produce this record if requested. Both you and your FDW should sign the record to confirm that payment is made.

Salary adjustments

You could consider raising your FDW's salary periodically as a reward for good performance and loyalty in service.

You can also consider giving the FDW a contract gratuity. This money can be paid to the FDW when she ends her contract with you.

This incentive, which both of you should agree on, could motivate her to perform better.

Initial difficulties

A new FDW from a rural area may encounter some of these difficulties:

  • Understanding and communicating in your language.
  • Using modern household appliances.
  • Adjusting to living in high-rise buildings.
  • Having different practices in taking care of children.
  • She will need time to familiarise herself with your way of life. You can help by taking time to orientate and train her, especially in the early stages of her employment.


You need to ensure that your FDW's accommodation meets the following requirements:

  • Adequate shelter: the accommodation must adequately protect your FDW from environmental elements such as sun, rain or strong winds.
  • Basic amenities: you must minimally provide your FDW with a mattress, pillow and blanket.
  • Sufficient ventilation: your FDW’s accommodation must be sufficiently ventilated. Mechanical ventilation (e.g. electrical fan) should be provided if natural ventilation is inadequate.
  • Safety: your FDW should not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.
  • Modesty: your FDW must not sleep in the same room as a male adult or teenager.
  • Space and privacy: you should provide your FDW with a separate room. If that is not possible, you should ensure that her accommodation has adequate space and privacy.

Adequate Food

  • You must provide your FDW with 3 meals a day. Your FDW requires sufficient food to perform household chores.

An example of a day’s food intake for a female engaged in moderate activity is as follows:

  • Breakfast: 4 slices of bread with spread.
  • Lunch: 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit
  • Dinner: 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit

Be sensitive to your FDW’s needs when it comes to food. Do not force your FDW to eat food that she is not supposed to or is not comfortable with. For example, your FDW may not be able to eat certain food due to her religious beliefs, or she may not be accustomed to your family’s dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian food or porridge).

Medical care

As an employer, you are responsible for your FDW’s medical needs.

You need to bear the full cost of any medical care, including hospitalisation, and provide her with medical and personal accident insurance.

Open communication

You FDW may experience homesickness and loneliness. You can help her cope with those feelings by teaching her how she could contact her family and how she could send letters home.

Family integration

You should try your best to integrate your FDW into your family. You can do that by being patient and tolerant and making an effort to understand her background.

Disputes with your FDW might arise because of misunderstandings and differing expectations.

When these happen, you should first try to resolve them with your FDW. Even if there is suspicion that she might have committed a misdeed, you should not take matters into your own hands by punishing her. You should report any criminal matters to the authorities.

Our employment agency will also provide counselling and mediators for any disputes with your FDW.

A foreign domestic worker (FDW)’s deployment must comply withWork Permit conditions. As an employer, you will be penalised if you illegally deploy her to work for someone else or perform non-domestic chores.


  • Requires a valid Work Permit.
  • Can only work for her employer.
  • Can only perform domestic chores.
  • Can only work at the residential address stated in the Work Permit.
  • Cannot take on any part-time work.

You can deploy your FDW to work at another address only if she is there to look after your young children or elderly parents.


Forillegally deploying an FDW, the penalty is a fine of up to $10,000. Convicted employers may also be banned from employing FDWs.

For employing an FDW without a valid Work Permit, the penalty is a fine between $5,000 and $30,000, or imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both. For subsequent convictions, offenders face mandatory imprisonment.

When your foreign domestic worker (FDW)'s employment ends, you need to complete certain steps before she departs for her home country.

When a FDW's employment ends, you need to:

  • Resolve all outstanding employment issues (e.g. salary). Give her advance notice of her departure.
  • Make sure she departs within 2 weeks of cancelling her Work Permit.
  • Buy her an air ticket to the airport nearest to her hometown in her home country.
  • You must pay all associated costs of sending her home, including the cost of the air ticket and check-in luggage allowance.

Our agency will offer to take back our FDWs for you if your contract with the FDW ends. We suggest that doing so will save you the cost of sending the FDW home and we can apply a new FDW for you and transfer your ex-FDW to another employer.