The Cost Of Hiring A Domestic Maid In Malaysia

The Cost Of Hiring A Domestic Maid In Malaysia

Able as you are, there will be times when a pair of helping hands is needed – more so if your time and attention has to be devoted to the demanding mistress you call a job.

domestic maid malaysia

Source: Disney

But unless you have family members, friends, or a dray of rodents that are both willing to help you and are experienced in the art of babysitting, cleaning, and cooking, chances are you will look towards hiring domestic help.


However, with the government tightening the rules on hiring of foreign maids, as well as changes in the neighbouring countries, hiring a foreign live-in helper has become more difficult today.

According to a Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo, Malaysia used to have about 300,000 registered domestic maids some six or seven years ago and 80% of them were Indonesians.

In 2016, the total number of maids has dropped to less than 200,000, of which 50,000 are Indonesians, he added. In the same year, the Indonesian government announced that will no longer allow its women to work as live-in maids in any foreign countries beginning 2017.

Demand continue to surge while supply dwindles drastically. This has resulted in higher cost of hiring a helper now. The cost to be borne by you to hire domestic help comprises of two components: money and time.

Agency fee and monthly salary

A December 2013 article published by The Star reported that the cost for a Malaysian to hire an Indonesian domestic worker has risen to RM14,900, though the official rate fixed by the Malaysian and Indonesian governments was only RM8,000.

The fee of RM8,000 was made up of RM3,000 for management costs and RM4,800 to ‘buy’ biodata of a prospective maid from Indonesian recruitment agencies. Of the total cost of RM7,800, you, as a prospective employer will pay RM6,000, while the remaining RM1,800 will be borne by the maid via deductions of RM300 from her monthly salary over six months.

As an employer, you are also required to pay a minimum monthly salary of RM900 with no current laws on maximum monthly salary (i.e. you can pay as much as you want provided it’s more than RM900 per month).

Waiting time is a common occurrence especially if you are looking to hire a maid. According to Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein to The Star, there were approximately 35,000 Malaysians on the waiting list for maids.

How time influences cost

In a December 25, 2013 article, The Star reported that as a result of high demand and short supply, many Malaysians have resorted to paying a higher agency fee to expedite the procurement of a maid to what Engku Ahmad (president of Mama) believes to be either unlicensed agencies or agencies who are not members of Malaysia’s two main recruitment agency associations.

These unscrupulous recruitment agencies have been said to charge desperate Malaysians – especially dual income households, as high as RM14,000 for an Indonesian maid. Despite paying a higher price, employers are still doubtful about their maid’s ability to perform given tasks and are distraught at their inability to make claims from these agencies should their maid run away.

If RM14,000 sounds like daylight robbery, perhaps there are other options that are cheaper:

Without a live-in helper
With a live-in helper
Engaging a part-time cleaner once a week
Fees to maid agency
Sending a child to a babysitter/nanny
Deduction from the helper’s wage
Getting catered dinner
Other fees (food, accommodation & miscellaneous)
RM300 x 12 months = RM3,600
Total cost a month
Total wage in a year
RM900 x 12 = RM10,800
Total cost a year
Total to be paid in the first year

Living without a live-in helper will likely save you RM7,760 in the first year.

Other than the high cost of hiring a domestic maid, there are also other risks involved. If the maid has absconded, the agency fee will not be refunded. However, there are some agencies that provide 6-month warranty in the event your maid absconded in the first six months.

Getting a domestic help sometimes depends on your preference. The key to having a domestic maid is getting your money’s worth along with the peace of mind that comes with it. Once you have weighed the pros and cons, perhaps spending the extra RM7,760 in a year is still worth the money.

Think you can do yourself? Find out if you can really afford to be a stay-at-home parent!

Image from Domestic Services

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