Saturday, May 24, 2008

Maids wanted, will pay good wages.

Cost of living around the world has sykrocketed over the last few years. Singapore, which imported just about everything, is likened to a sampan stuck in a perfect storm.

As a result, dual income nuclear families has become the norm. With both parents at work, there is a rising demand for live-in maids. Having said that, a maid working in Singapore typically brings in S$300-400 per month (110-150 pounds) depending on her nationality; Filipinos are the highest earners followed by Indonesians and Myanmese.

Here's the shocker: according to a local, live-in maids in London cost a whopping 400 pounds (S$1,070) per week! With the average salary of 23k pounds per year for Londoners, having a maid is reserved for well paid professionals. As a result, most families either have a parent tending the household on a full-time basis or opt to send their kids to daycare, which is another substantial sum.

Most if not all London maids' positions are staffed by Filipinos due to two main reasons: the locals have priced themselves out of the market and Filipinos speak excellent English.

That makes me wonder, are the maids in Singapore underpaid?

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13 comments:

LadyBanana said...

I think I'd better be a maid, seems they are earning more than me!!

C K said...

@ladybanana,
lol! With food and accomodation paid for as well!

Thomas said...

How does the cost of living in Singapore compare to London?

C K said...

@thomas,
Typically, you'll need less to get around in Singapore.

A good yardstick would be comparing 1 sterling pound to 1 Singapore dollar. In terms of absolute numerical value, something that cost you 3 pounds in London would cost you 3 Singapore dollar in Singapore.

That means that a Singaporean maid would earn around 25% of her London counterpart in absolute numerical sense.

It'll be much worse if you take the exchange rate into consideration.

Deb said...

a recent ST report says the maids work in S'pore for a couple of years, then they move on to HK, the mid-east etc for several times the pay they get here. From that perspective, yeah it does look we underpay them, so they treat us as 'training ground' b4 they move on.

But I've been to the Philippines many times, and comparing the cost of living there to S'pore, I heard a medical doctor earns 30k pesos a mth (S$1100/-) and lives comfortably. A high school teacher in the Philippines who is a college grad gets 10-12k pesos a mth (S$450/-).

Jasmine Shanea said...

I guess Singapore is like the training ground for most maids before they move into more affluent places where they can earn much more. Imagine if they head down to London without knowing a single tinge of English. At least in Singapore, there is still the possibility of moving around in their own native language. So I guess the pay is still reasonable considering tt it is usually their launch pad for something better. :)

C K said...

@deb,
Thanks for the info on Philippines' living standards. It seems that a Filipino maid in London can send back potentially much more than a doctor's pay back in her native country...

The price to pay is of course having to work halfway round the globe.

C K said...

@jasmine shanea,
I understand that most maids have to work in S'pore for a couple of years (under their contract) before moving on.

That's if they can survive that initial few years. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do get the impression that some employers in S'pore can treat their maids better...

It's ironic isn't it? I mean, you would want to treat the person, who is looking after your kids, better so that they in turn will return the favor. But some employers seem to think otherwise.

Ong Xavier said...

Nearby In Hong Kong Too..If The Maids Gets Pregnant During Their Contract, Employers MUST Take Care Of Them (Tonics,Food,Etc.) She Does Not Have To Work But Employers Still Needs To Pay Them.

LINK ME UP? :D

C K said...

@xavier,
Really?! I'm surprised! I mean, in Singapore, employers are supposed to make sure their maids do not get pregnant during their term of employment for immigration issues.

Not only the maids get sent back to their home country should they get pregnant, the employers get slap with a fine as well!

lina said...

C K,
sometimes our society dependence on maids to care for our family is quite scary. You know, Chinese kids who speak good Indonesian...etc but with two parents working... not much choice.
Malaysia pays average of RM360 for Indonesian maids, and I do believe we are their training ground too as most (not all) maids that came literally had no experience which can cause some headaches to their employers.

SheR. said...

Ah.. thanks for letting me know how much domestic helpers are being paid in UK. And guess why most families rather hire illegal tourists on 6 months visa to work as au pair. They only get a mere 100 quid a week??? And they cook, clean and take care of children??? This is exploitation!!!

Maids of DC said...

The pay for the maids is well. I wonder with food and accommodation.