During the Budget speech on Monday, Singapore Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced that maid employers who do not qualify for levy concessions will have to pay a S$300 monthly foreign domestic worker levy from April 2019. However, employers who are currently paying a S$60 concessionary rate will continue to pay the same amount.
The levy has increased 13 percent from the current monthly pay of S$265. The monthly levy for a second maid will also have an increase of 70 percent making the total levy S$450 from the current S$265.
Heng said that the families that need help caring for young children under the age of 16, the elderly, or relatives with disabilities, will qualify for this concessionary rate. According to him, about 80 percent of Singaporean maid employers benefit from this concession.
Channel NewsAsia reported that the qualifying age for levy concession under the aged person scheme will rise from 65 to 67. This move is aimed at "improving life expectancy and health of Singaporeans".
He said that the households with persons aged 65 and 66, which have been enjoying the levy concession under the aged person scheme before April 1, 2019 will continue to pay the monthly levy rate of S$60.
Heng noted that over the decade, the number of foreign domestic workers in Singapore has gone up by about 40 percent to 240,000 last year. "We must ensure that FDW demand is commensurate with need and avoid an over-dependence on FDWs," he added.
In addition, the Manpower Ministry is also piloting a Household Services Scheme in order to help meet the demand for part-time household services. He said that 15 cleaning companies in Singapore will be able to recruit workers from India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand to offer part-time cleaning services under the pilot.
However, they can only recruit work permit holders from Malaysia, China and other North Asian sources at present.