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Part-time cleaners from an agent or company?

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Part-time cleaners from an agent or company?

Postby Blue Sapphire » Sun, 05 Dec 2010 11:48 pm

I'm debating whether to get a part-time cleaner from an agency or company. Any thoughts are to which is better?

From an agent, they provide you with someone and you deal with them only after. You also pay them directly for every session of cleaning. As for a company the cleaners are employed by them so you pay the company monthly.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 06 Dec 2010 12:17 am

If you use an agency and it's up to you to deal with the cleaner and pay her yourself, you do realize you also have to pay her CPF contributions as well don't you? It's a bit more expensive to use a company but you will have less headaches.

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Postby KindClare » Mon, 06 Dec 2010 12:07 pm

SMS - I read your post and got quite concerned as I have a part time cleaner but haven't been paying CPF. I got her through an agency but I pay her directly each time she comes. I phoned the agency and they said because she is part time - no CPF. This sounded a bit fishy so I did some more research and found a government publication called "Employers Handbook" - link here
http://www.cpf.gov.sg/cpf_INFO/Publicat ... er.asp#N3b

I've just read that employees who are not under an employment contract (I have no contract with my part-time cleaner) are exempt from CPF contributions.

Is your experience different? Am I reading this incorrectly?
I certainly don't want to be on the wrong side of the law on this.
Thanks in advance!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 06 Dec 2010 12:57 pm

Yes, The Employers Handbook is well known. Every HR Manager has several copies of it! Extracted from there:

[quote]Your Employees

Your employee is any person who is employed in Singapore and any Singaporean seaman who is employed by an employer under a contract of service or other agreement entered into in Singapore.

Some of the factors which form the contract of service are: the employer’s control over payment, duration of work, dismissal, substitution of workers and method of work. (This means you don't really need a piece of paper to constitute a contract of service but just your actions do. If she is self employed she need to be registered with ACRA and can be checked easily. If she IS registered, then yes, you are correct but if she is not, then you are the employer)


Employees include:
b. Part-time/Casual Employees
CPF contributions are payable by the employer for part-time/casual employees whose wages exceed $50 a month. CPF contributions are also payable for all school-leavers or students working on a part-time or temporary basis, except for the following groups:


Employees who are exempted from CPF contributions


a. Foreigners on Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass or Work Permit
CPF contributions are not allowed for foreigners. Both the employer’s and employee’s contributions for foreign employees on Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass or Work Permit will be rejected.

b. Partners, sole-proprietors or self-employed
All Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents who derive income from Singapore or from outside Singapore through any trade, business, profession or vocation excluding employment under a contract of service are considered self-employed. Unlike employees, they do not contribute to all 3 CPF accounts. Instead, they are only required to contribute to their Medisave, which is computed based on their annual net trade income earned.

c. Employees working overseas


CPF contributions are not mandatory for Singaporean employees who work overseas. If you wish to continue making CPF contributions for your existing employees who are posted overseas, you may have to register for a new employer reference number before making a voluntary contribution.

Overseas employers are required to register for an employer reference number to make voluntary contributions for their Singaporean employees.

This is allowed only for employees who are Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents. The contribution is subject to the limit of $25,245 per calendar year.


Wages Not Paid Monthly
When wages are not paid according to the calendar month, e.g. weekly or fortnightly, apportion the wages according to the calendar month for which CPF contributions are paid. The apportionment is necessary to determine the “Ordinary Wages”

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Postby fatmouse76 » Tue, 07 Dec 2010 4:10 pm

I feel that if you get a cleaner from the agency , as long as your work is done and you pay promptly, why do we need to bother whether CPF is paid or not ?

I got my cleaner from an agency and I just make the monthly payment of the hourly rate to the company. I am contented as long as my cleaner is good and doesnt give me unnnecessary headache. :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 07 Dec 2010 4:47 pm

If you bothered to read KindClare's post correctly, you will note that she is required to pay the cleaner directly and not to the agency. If paid to the agency, then she does not to need to worry about CPF because the agency is the employer and takes care of it. ](*,)

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Postby whoisit » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 10:27 am

Going back to the OP's question.. We were looking for a part time maid and we went with one of the companies in SMS' lists called Jia Jia cleaning. In my opinion going with a company gives you less headaches.

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 2:08 pm

Do they provide always the same person for the job?

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Postby KindClare » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 2:43 pm

Well, I contacted my agency (A-Team) to enquire again and get an answer in writing and this is what they sent

"Thank you for your enquiry. As the helper is working for
you as a free-lance part-timer and does not have a
employment contract of service with you (as
employer-employer), CPF is therefore not mandatory. This is
similar to hiring a gardener, tutor or piano teacher who are
contract workers."

I'm pleased to have it form them in writing but still think I should check it out further. Comparing it to a tutor or piano teacher makes sense. But I really want to be sure.

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Postby whoisit » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 4:49 pm

@x9200 - So far we had two. The first person who came around lasted for two weeks (once a week) but they have been sending the same person since then. I guess if you stick with your schedule and not change the days or times that you need a maid or give them enough notice if you do they can make sure you get the same person.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 5:24 pm

KindClare wrote:Well, I contacted my agency (A-Team) to enquire again and get an answer in writing and this is what they sent

"Thank you for your enquiry. As the helper is working for
you as a free-lance part-timer and does not have a
employment contract of service with you (as
employer-employer), CPF is therefore not mandatory. This is
similar to hiring a gardener, tutor or piano teacher who are
contract workers."

I'm pleased to have it form them in writing but still think I should check it out further. Comparing it to a tutor or piano teacher makes sense. But I really want to be sure.


A gardener, tutor, piano teacher or masseuse, it doesn't matter what the occupation, they all should be registered with ACRA if they are freelancing & charging you money for services rendered and are not directly employed by the agency or you. So, you need to find out if the person is registered with ACRA. If not, and the agency has told you already that they are not the employer, then you are the employer and the rules on CPF apply. What you have from them, if that's the meat of the text, is nothing.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 6:03 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:A gardener, tutor, piano teacher or masseuse, it doesn't matter what the occupation, they all should be registered with ACRA if they are freelancing & charging you money for services rendered and are not directly employed by the agency or you. So, you need to find out if the person is registered with ACRA. If not, and the agency has told you already that they are not the employer, then you are the employer and the rules on CPF apply. What you have from them, if that's the meat of the text, is nothing.


Actually, SMS, I agree that you are one hundred percent correct, that is, with the exception of hawker centers and a few other things, all people earning money as self employed must register their business with ACRA.

This opens up an interesting can of worms, however. I am sure that there are many people working off the radar. For example, I don't pay my yardman's CPF, and I doubt seriously if he has ever even thought about being registered. He'd probably freak if I asked him for his CPF account number, then paid employer portion, and withheld his employee portion out of the $60 that I pay him.

I dropped over to the CPF website and got the following:

Partners, Sole-proprietors or Self-employed: All Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents who derive income from Singapore or from outside Singapore through any trade, business, profession or vocation excluding employment under a contract of service are considered self-employed. Unlike employees, they do not contribute to all 3 CPF accounts. Instead, they are only required to contribute to their Medisave, which is computed based on their annual net trade income earned.


From this I would conclude that even if the person is not registered as a sole proprietor, it is still up to the individual, and not the person who hired them, to make the CPF contribution.

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 6:31 pm

They would also freak out for the reason of providing this way an evidence of their income.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 11:07 pm

Which is the same requirement for any sole proprietorship. They only have to pay Medisave (which is, by the way, paid through the CPF Board). Keynote-Engineers is a sole-proprietorship and I only pay medisave on that. All freelancers are required to file as self employed even if not registered (a lot of real estate agents fit into this category). They are only required to file a four line statement on their tax returns but I only give the legal standpoint. I don't give the actual reality as I don't want to be seen as proposing/propagating illegal procedures here.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 08 Dec 2010 11:26 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Which is the same requirement for any sole proprietorship. They only have to pay Medisave (which is, by the way, paid through the CPF Board). Keynote-Engineers is a sole-proprietorship and I only pay medisave on that. All freelancers are required to file as self employed even if not registered (a lot of real estate agents fit into this category). They are only required to file a four line statement on their tax returns but I only give the legal standpoint. I don't give the actual reality as I don't want to be seen as proposing/propagating illegal procedures here.


That's the point. Free lancers are required to file. They need to pay their own CPF.


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