Live-in vs Part-time Caregiver - 8 Key Differences

By Anglo Caregivers
We help you find your right caregiver.
By Anglo Caregivers
We help you find your right caregiver.
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Live-in vs Part-time Caregiver - 8 Key Differences

About Anglo Caregivers

Our agency specialises in helping families find caregivers and trained maids to live in and take care of their elderly or disabled loved ones.

1. Employment type and accommodation

In the context of Singapore, a live-in caregiver is typically a foreigner and is employed on a Foreign Domestic Worker work permit.

For a foreign live-in caregiver to be employed on a Foreign Domestic Worker, she must be from one of the MOM approved source country. Common countries are Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar. The live-in caregiver must be from 23 to below 50 years old at the time of application.

READ: Who is a Live-in Caregiver?

On the other hand, a part-time, live-out caregiver in Singapore is a local, private caregiver, usually a Singaporean or a Permanent Resident, who is engaged on an hourly-rated basis. The caregiver, typically a freelancer, will visit the care recipient’s home for caregiving shifts, usually up to a maximum of 12 hours each time. The caregiver will not be living in the care recipient’s home.

2. Scope of caregiving

Both live-in caregivers and part-time caregivers provide a similar scope of caregiving – assisting in the Activities of Daily Living. They may be able to provide more advanced care such as suctioning and nasogastric tube feeding. This depends if they have previous experiences in performing such care.

Caregivers are not allowed to perform clinical procedures such as the insertion of a nasogastric tubing (NGT) or the insertion of an Indwelling Urinary Catheter (IDC). These must be done by a licensed medical professional such as a medical practitioner, registered nurse and/or enrolled nurse.

3. Can a caregiver do housekeeping?

Other than caregiving, a live-in caregiver helps to clean the care recipient’s room, perform laundry, grocery shopping and cook for the care recipient. A live-in caregiver may also assist in some housework in some housework for other members in the house, for example, cooking and preparing meals for one or two other family members who also reside there.

Pro Tip!

It is important to check with your agency on its scope of housekeeping for a live-in caregiver as it varies. It is also a good practice to communicate clearly with your agency on your expectations for housekeeping to prevent any potential misunderstanding with the caregiver you hire.

For part-time caregivers, housekeeping tasks such as cooking, cleaning and washing are not part of their job scope. They are able to perform limited light housekeeping tasks such as washing up the dishes after a care recipient’s meals and bed-making for the care recipient.

4. Arrangements for a caregiver

To employ a live-in caregiver, the family will have to sign an employment contract. The employment contract typically states that the caregiver is employed by the Employer for a period specified in her work permit. This is typically about for a 2-year period.  

READ: Step-by-Step Guide on Procedures to Hire a Caregiver

What happens if I don't require a live-in caregiver anymore?

A common question for families will be "what if I do not require a caregiver anymore?" It can be due to reasons such asthe care recipient has recovered fully from a stroke or that a care recipient with advanced cancer has passed on. Is there an obligation to continue employing the caregiver until her work permit expires?

In the event the employer or the live-in caregiver does not wish to continue with the employment, the termination procedure will follow what is laid out in the employment contract.

Typically, the terminating party will need to provide a notice period or pay in-lieu of notice. The notice period may range from a few days up to a month depending on what is stated in the contract.

The employer has an option whether to repatriate the live-in caregiver or to transfer her to another employer. The MOM requires the employer to bear the costs of repatriating the caregiver.

The arrangement for a part-time caregiver is flexible – it can be on a part-time or ad-hoc, on-demand basis. The employer does not need to commit to a long-term engagement. It can be for a Sunday when the FDW goes off for her rest day. It can also be a for a short period of 2 weeks to offer a family caregiver some respite. It can also be for interim care while arranging for a more permanent caregiver.

For part-time arrangements, the caregiver(s) may or may not be the same person every day – it depends on the availability of the caregiver and how the agency schedules them. If the family engages caregiving service on a daily basis, it will typically comprise of at least a few caregivers.

5. Lead time for caregiver to start work

The lead time to employ a live-in caregiver ranges depending on her location.

For caregivers who are already in Singapore, she can start work with the family once the work permit is issued, typically a few days to a week upon application with MOM.

For caregivers who are residing overseas, it typically takes some time to process ranging from 2 weeks to 8 weeks depending on each agency’s procedure.

Part-time caregivers can be arranged on an on-demand basis. Typically, agencies will advise to give a few days’ notice. However, last-minute, ad-hoc shifts can also be arranged as long as there are caregivers available. This is possible as the local caregivers are freelancers and may have some available time slots in between their assignments.

6. Costs of caregiving

The live-in caregiver works and resides in the employer’s home. Her salary is paid to her on a monthly basis. The monthly basic salary ranges from $580 - $1000 depending on the caregiver’s qualifications and experience.

Other than paying her salary, the employer must provide the live-in caregiver with food, accommodation and medical expenses in Singapore. For households with seniors, the monthly FDW levy is at a concessionary rate of $60.

Below is an illustration of some typical costs in employing a live-in caregiver. The monthly cost before any government grants or subsidies in our illustration is about $1079.23. Each cost may differ for each family but typically a family may expect to spend below $1500 in monthly costs.

Monthly Live-in Care Costs Amount($)
Monthly Basic Salary 600.00
Compensation for Work on Rest Days (3 Sundays) 69.23
Food and Accommodation (including toiletries) 350.00
FDW Concessionary Levy 60.00
Total 1079.23
Illustrated example

READ: What is the Monthly Cost of Hiring a Live-in Caregiver?
READ: What are the Grants I can Apply for Caregiving?
TOOL: Monthly Live-in Care Cost Calculator

For part-time caregivers, families can typically choose to hire a local trained caregiver at lower cost or pay a premium for a local licensed nurse.

In May 2020, the hourly cost to families for a local trained caregiver usually starts from $20 per hour while a licensed nurse starts from $24 per hour. For a local trained caregiver, a 12-hour shift from 8am to 8pm would be about $240 a day. A family who engages a local trained caregiver on weekdays Monday – Friday, 8AM – 8PM may expect to spend about $5280.00 per month (assuming there are 22 weekdays in a month).

Monthly Live-out Care Costs
(Local, trained caregiver. Not a licensed nurse)
Cost per hour 20.00
Cost per 12-hour shift 240.00
Total cost per month (Mondays-Fridays, 12 hours per day)
*assuming there are 21 weekdays in a month
**does not include caregivers for weekday nights and weekends
Illustrated example

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7. Spoken language(s) of caregiver

In terms of languages abilities, families can typically expect local caregivers to be able to communicate in local languages with their loved ones.

For live-in caregivers who are from other countries, communication may or may not be an issue. For caregivers from the Philippines, they may be conversant in English. For caregivers from Indonesia, they will typically not have issues in communicating with elderly who speak Malay.

For first-time caregivers, they will typically have undergone some basic English training before flying to Singapore.

If language is an important factor for families, they should seek out caregivers with experience working in Singapore, Hong Kong or Taiwan. Generally, caregivers who have worked in Singapore are conversant in English. For first-timer caregivers, higher education levels attained can also indicate higher levels of competency in English.

For families with elderly who speak Mandarin, caregivers with experience working in Taiwan can be able to converse fluently in Mandarin. In fact, Mandarin-speaking caregivers is an area we specialise in.

8. Training and certification

For families who opt to hire a live-in caregiver over a domestic helper, it is typically because of their training, certification or experience.

READ: Maid vs Caregiver - 4 Key Differences and 4 Considerations to Decide Who to Hire

For live-in caregivers from the Philippines, they have a national-wide certification, National Certificate from the TESDA Assessment, to provide quality assurance that the graduate has met the requisite standards. For caregiving, the relevant certificate types are the TESDA NC II in Caregiving or in Health Care Services. Some caregivers may also have a Diploma or Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

For live-in caregivers from Indonesia, domestic workers have to undergo a caretaker training programme and take part in a Caretaker Certification Scheme. They are required to undergo a competency test conducted by a licensed professional certification institute (Lembaga Sertifikasi Profesi) prior to working abroad.

READ: Who is a Certified Caregiver? Types of Qualifications and Things to Look Out for

In Singapore, the local, part-time caregivers typically undergo in-house training by their respective agencies. The curriculum and duration of training received by the local caregiver varies from agency to agency.

How do I decide between a live-in or part-time caregiver?

What is your budget?

Given the vast difference in the costs illustrated above where a local caregiver can cost up to 5 times more than a live-in caregiver, cost is arguably one of the primary deciding factors for most families in terms of employing someone for the long term.

However, a part-time caregiver can provide short-term respite or ad-hoc care for families as needed. Families can benefit from having such an on-demand resource to depend on. This usually comes in handy when the main caregiver needs to go off for her rest day or home leave.

How important is it to have the same person caring for your loved one?

Employing a live-in caregiver provides the care recipient with the assurance that he or she will be cared for by the same caregiver on a daily basis. While this is the case if a live-in caregiver is employed, it may not be the same when families employ part-time caregivers. For part-time caregivers, it depends on the caregiver’s availability and how her agency deploys her. Sometimes, families experience having different caregivers every day. This may cause some frustration to families and care recipients alike, especially for persons with dementia.

Is accountability important?

When families employ a live-in caregiver, she takes over the role as the main caregiver. There is no uncertainty that she oversees the main caregiving responsibilities of their lived one.

When families employ caregiving services from part-time, local caregivers, the families may expect that there will be a few caregivers overseeing the care of their loved one. When issues arise, it can be difficult to hold any individual caregiver accountable. For example, when a family member discovers a bruise on their elderly loved one, it may be hard to find out when it happened, and under which part-time, local caregiver’s care.

Is reliability important?

The flexible nature of arranging for part-time care can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it provides families with the ability to arrange for ad-hoc or last-minute caregiving help. On the other hand, it is also common for last-minute no-shows by the caregiver, leaving the family without anyone to care for their loved one.

In the situation when a live-in caregiver quits, there is typically a notice period that must be served. The notice period provides the employer with a buffer time to search for a new caregiver without worrying that there is no one to care for their loved one. If more time is needed to find a new caregiver or to process the caregiver from overseas, typically, the employer can request and with the caregiver’s agreement for her to work until the new caregiver arrives.

With the arrival of the new caregiver, the employer can request for a handover period with the MOM for the current caregiver to handover the care to the new caregiver for a smooth handover and transition.

What is better - live-in caregiver or part-time caregiver?

Generally, families can benefit from both live-in care and part-time care.

In terms of engaging a caregiver for the long-term, families normally opt for a live-in caregiver in consideration of the lower costs and having the ability to have the same caregiver on a daily basis among other considerations.  

For families with loved ones who are undergoing rehabilitative care and are expected to recover within a few months’ time, some may opt for live-in care for the lower cost while others may opt for part-time care as it is easy to arrange and can be cancelled any time. This is typical in cases for elderly who are recovering from a fall or fracture, an operation or a mild stroke.

Tapping on both live-in and part-time care

With affordability in mind, families typically employ a live-in caregiver as the main caregiver for the loved one for the long term while tapping on part-time, part-time local caregivers when needed.

Local caregivers provide interim care to care recipients at home following their discharge from hospitals and before the live-in caregivers arrive from overseas. Part-time caregivers also stand-in when live-in caregivers go off for their rest day on Sunday or for home leave.

Different families have different care needs and preferences. By going through the different considerations, families can decide what works best for their loved ones.

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Summary Table: Live-in or live out caregiver?
Live-in Caregiver
Live-out Caregiver
Employment type and accommodation Foreign Domestic Worker work permit.
Stays at the care recipient’s home
Singapore Citizen or Permanent Residents.
Visits the care recipient for blocks of hours.
Scope of caregiving Activities of Daily Living.
Other care such as suctioning, tube feeding may be performed depending on training and experience.
Not allowed to perform clinical procedures such as insertion of NGT or IDC.
Activities of Daily Living.
Other care such as suctioning, tube feeding may be performed depending on training and experience.
Not allowed to perform clinical procedures such as insertion of NGT or IDC.
Housekeeping Housekeeping (cooking, cleaning, washing) for care recipient None except light housekeeping in relation to care recipient like washing the dishes or bedmaking
Arrangements Employment Contract
Employed for period in work permit
Transfer to another employer or repatriate
Notice period for termination

Flexible, on-demand basis according to family’s requirements
Lead time Typically, within 1 week for caregivers already in Singapore and 2 – 8 weeks for caregivers flying in from abroad Typically, a few days in advance. Last-minute shifts may also be arranged
Monthly caregiving costs Estimated below $1500 including FDW levy, food and accommodation Estimated $5040 in 1 month (Mondays – Fridays, 12 hours per day, at rate of $20 per hour)
Spoken language(s) English, Mandarin, Cantonese or Malay Local languages
Training and certification Trained and certified in home countries
TESDA NC II in Caregiving or Health Care Services
Diploma in Nurse Aide or BSc. Nursing
Caretaker Certification Scheme
In-house training by the agency

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Download a copy of our resource for your use.
The following tool is available to help you.

Related Guides

Anglo Caregivers Employer's Guide to Caregiver Hiring

About Anglo Caregivers

Our agency specialises in helping families find experienced or certified caregivers to live in and take care of their elderly or disabled loved ones.


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Originally published
June 3, 2020
July 25, 2022 2:20 PM

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