Singapore wants to improve maid service agencies' services by making them liable for two level grading – one by the authorities and consumers and the second by the employers who take their services.

Agencies will need to be graded before they are allowed to renew their licenses, said Sam Tan, the Minister of State for Manpower (MOM) at an industry seminar on Wednesday.

Tan also said that the government often receives feedback about how distressing it is for both employers and maids when their expectations are not well matched and this causes the employment relationship to break down.

"When this happens, both the (maid) and the family feel highly stressed."

The MOM and the Consumers Association of Singapore will grade agencies in the first scheme, called Trustmark. Assessment criteria will be decided by the two organizations and the industry.

The second scheme is one in which employers rate an agency whose services they have used. The system is developed by the MOM, and employer feedback will be made public on the ministry's website.

Agencies will also have to display their grading certificates prominently in their premises to help employers make an informed decision, Tan said.

The employer rating system will be implemented by June this year. The Trustmark scheme will be rolled out by December next year.