Why did the Government increase the foreign domestic worker levy?

The number of foreign domestic workers in Singapore has risen substantially. We need to manage our reliance on them.


FDW levy

Over the past decade, the number of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore has increased by about 40%, to 240,000 in 2017. This was driven by demand from both households with and without caregiving needs.

Given Singapore’s limited resources, there is a need to manage the number of FDWs in Singapore, and at the same time, ensure that families who need help with caregiving are assisted.

No changes to levy for families with caregiving needs

Families with persons needing care will continue to enjoy the FDW concessionary levy rate of $60. There is no change to the levy rate. The Government will continue to support Singaporean households with children, elderly, and persons with disabilities.

Who qualifies for levy concession?

From 1 April 2019, Singaporean households will qualify for the levy concession if they have:

  • Children below 16 years of age

  • Elderly persons aged 67 and above

    Age criteria to be raised from 65 years old in light of Singaporeans’ improving life expectancy and health. All households with persons aged 65 and 66, which are enjoying or have enjoyed the levy concession under the aged person scheme before 1 April 2019, will continue to pay the monthly levy rate of $60 on and after 1 April 2019.

  • Persons with disabilities (regardless of age)

    Any family member who is certified as needing help or supervision with at least one activity of daily living (ADL) - eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting and moving around.

For instance, a household looking after a family member with dementia can still qualify for the levy concession so long as he or she is a Singaporean and certified to require permanent help or supervision with a daily living activity. Such certification is available from a neighbourhood GP or a registered nurse/physiotherapist/occupational therapist.

Levy increase for families without caregiving needs

To reduce over reliance on FDWs, the Government will increase the FDW levy for employers without caregiving needs, from 1 April 2019. For employers who require help with household services such as home cleaning, engaging companies that provide such services may be a more sustainable solution. MOM had earlier piloted a Household Services Scheme to help meet increasing demand for such part-time household services.

This article is accurate as at March 2018. For full details on the FDW levy and levy concession, please visit MOM’s website.


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Unless otherwise indicated, the articles here are generally accurate as of their publication dates. Please visit the relevant Goverment agency website for the latest updates.