SINGAPORE: Maid employers who do not qualify for levy concessions will have to pay a S$300 monthly foreign domestic worker levy from April 2019, Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced during his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 19).
This is a 13 per cent increase from the current monthly levy of S$265. The monthly levy for a second maid will also increase to S$450, a 70 per cent increase from the current S$265.
Employers who are currently paying a S$60 concessionary rate will continue to pay the same amount, Mr Heng said.
Families that need help caring for young children under the age of 16, the elderly, or relatives with disabilities qualify for this concessionary rate. About 80 per cent of Singaporean maid employers benefit from this concession, he said.
Mr Heng added that the qualifying age for levy concession under the aged person scheme will be increased from 65 to 67, “in light of improving life expectancy and health of Singaporeans”.
All households with family members aged 65 and 66, which are enjoying or have enjoyed the levy concession under the aged person scheme before Apr 1, 2019 – when all changes will take effect - will continue to pay the monthly levy rate of S$60, he said.
Mr Heng said that over the last 10 years, the number of foreign domestic workers in Singapore has gone up by about 40 per cent to 240,000 last year.
“We must ensure that FDW demand is commensurate with need and avoid an over-dependence on FDWs,” he said.
To help meet demand for part-time household services, the Manpower Ministry is also piloting a Household Services Scheme, he added. Under the pilot, 15 cleaning companies here will be able to recruit workers from India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand to offer part-time cleaning services. Currently, they can only recruit work permit holders from Malaysia, China and North Asian sources.