What is the salary of a first-time FDW?

The salary of a first-time FDW, like that of her more experienced colleague, is determined by the market, to a certain extent. Two FDWs working under very similar conditions may not necessarily get the same pay. In the early eighties Filipino FDWs were paid about SID 100 more than Sri Lankans or Indonesians. Now the gap between the salary of a Filipino FDW and an Indonesian FDW, for example, has closed from $100.00 down to $40.00 - or even zero!

  • The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, POEA, stipulated minimum salary of USD400 (w.e.f. from 1 March 2007) with one day off each week.

    Most Singapore employers seem to ignorant of this and choose to remain ignorant and often managed to start their maid at a lower rate. But things are they are a-changing now.

  • Sri Lankans would accept a starting salary of SID 400, but they are not particularly to work in Singapore and recently (about 2013) their High Commission in Singapore estimated that there were about 5,000 working in Singapore.
  • Currently Indonesian maid command almost the same salary as Filipinos, in theory. In practice Filipinos have a slight edge. English still is the determing factor. Indonesian maids used to have a poor command of English, but in the past decade (since 2005) Indonesian agencies have been more effective in teaching their recruits English. Until the Entry Test was scrapped a couple of years back, the Indonesian maids were even able to pass the test in English!

    Expect more changes in the years ahead. Indonesian authorities want SID 500 for their women. And by 2010, no more Indonesian maids will come to Singapore. President Jokowi will see to that.

  • Myanmar and ethnic Nepalese domiciled in India generally ask for and receive the same salary as Filipinos or slightly lower. But they are not many here. The Myanmar government has finally permit their women to work abroad as maids. And their salary demand will eventually go up.

There is a dearth of good Indonesian domestic workers for Singapore. The salary they get is a only a fraction of what new foreign workers get in Hong Kong and Taipei. But with the reduction in Foreign Workers Levy, (SID 345 at its highest and now with concession rate as low as SID 120) and Singaporeans getting more affluent, the differential is now narrower. By mid-2011 Indonesian recruiters are asking for $450 for first-timers!

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