Maid employers with family members who are frail, elderly, or disabled will soon find it easier to apply for a Government grant to offset the cost of hiring a domestic helper.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development said in a media release Monday that employers can now go to any Singapore Medical Council registered doctor to have their family member assessed as someone who requires help when taking a shower or moving around, for example.
Previously only a panel of 82 doctors could do this assessment, which is one of the conditions of receiving the Foreign Domestic Worker Grant that gives family members a monthly stipend of $120.
Over 2,000 families have benefited from the grant since it came into effect in October last year. The grant is expected to cost the Government about $25 million from last year until 2016. Eventually, more than 6,000 middle- and low-income families are expected to benefit.
Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said his ministry had received feedback from family members that they would find it more convenient to apply for the grant if the assessment could be done by their family doctor.
To qualify for the grant, households must also have a per capita monthly income of $2,200 or less. This person must also be living with the applicant, and the maid who is employed must have attended training approved by the Centre for Enabled Living. Employers generally pay their maids a monthly salary of $400 to $450, as well as a monthly levy of $265 to the Government.
Households with family members above 65 years old now pay a discounted levy of $170. The grant is given on top of this monthly concession.