MP Leon Perera

Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Social and Family Development in view of the Ministry’s announcement that social service staff salaries are expected to see increases between 4% and 15% from April 2023, why have the reference point salary for Care Staff fallen to $2,280 and the starting and reference point salaries for Senior Care Staff fallen to $2,330 and $2,910 respectively in the National Council of Social Service salary guidelines for the social service sector in FY2023.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli B M M: I would like to refer the Member to a report by The Straits Times on 13 April 2023, which addressed this issue. Briefly, the FY23 Sector Salary Guidelines took into consideration the Skills Frameworks for Social Service and for Healthcare, as well as changes in job sizes and responsibilities. As a result, some job roles were merged and some right sized. Hence, not every job role in the FY23 guidelines is directly comparable to those listed in the previous years’ guidelines.

In particular, the “Senior Care Staff” role was previously mapped to the Social Work Associate grade. The review found that “Care Staff” and “Senior Care Staff” should more appropriately be tagged to Social Service Assistant grades.

The competencies and work performed by some Senior Care Staff under the old guidelines would be commensurate with a higher job level of Social Work Associate in the FY23 Guidelines. This is especially so for staff already earning at levels that exceed the FY23 salary range for Senior Care Staff.

In implementing the FY23 Guidelines, social service agencies (SSA) should evaluate the job sizes and roles of their Senior Care Staff. They should then use the relevant benchmarks for the purpose of setting the salary, and to update job titles to better reflect the role. Existing Senior Care Staff with the same competencies and job sizes as Social Work Associates should continue to be paid similarly to Social Work Associates.

To support SSA leaders and HR practitioners, National Council of Social Service has organised a series of webinars, workshops and clinics on how to implement the FY23 Guidelines.

Ministry of Social and Family Development
21 April 2023

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