SINGAPORE - There will be increases to the foreign domestic worker levy, with the monthly levy for the first maid employed without a levy concession raised to $300 from the current $265.
This is the first of three changes announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Budget statement, delivered in Parliament on Monday (Feb 19).
Currently, about 80 per cent of Singaporean maid employers pay a $60 monthly levy under three concessionary schemes, instead of $265 a month. These employers qualify for the levy concession as long as they have members of their household who are aged at least 65, below 16 years of age or are disabled.
Second, the monthly levy for the second maid employed without a levy concession will increase to $450, up by $185.
The last change is the raising of the qualifying age for levy concession under the aged person scheme. Currently, the qualifying age is 65 years. It will be raised to 67 years.
Mr Heng said this move comes on the back of Singaporeans living longer, with improving health and increasing life expectancy.
These moves will be effective from April 1, 2019.
However, households who currently enjoy the levy concession under the three concessionary schemes, or who apply for and are successful in their application for this concession before April 1, 2019, will continue to pay the monthly levy rate of $60 on and after that date.
Those who are entitled to the levy concession as of April 1, 2019, will continue to pay $60 a month to employ a maid.
Over the past decade, the number of maids in Singapore increased by about 40 per cent to 240,000 last year.