Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang asked the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether the Ministry is studying the turnover rates of social workers; and (b) what are the plans to increase the retention of social workers and reduce the burnout rate.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) are committed to developing and strengthening a strong core of professionals in the social service sector and have various initiatives in place to support and retain our social workers. The overall annual resignation rate of social workers is 17% (as at Mar 2019), down from 20% in 2015.
2. Social Service Agencies (SSAs) play an important role in supporting and retaining their staff. MSF and NCSS work closely with SSAs to strengthen their Human Resource (HR) practices and policies1 , in areas such as Recruitment and Selection, Compensation and Benefits, Performance Management and Career Development.
3. MSF and NCSS also publish sector salary guidelines that provide a reference for SSAs to keep pace with competing markets and general wage movements. SSAs are encouraged to adhere to these guidelines to reward and retain good staff.
4. In-sector social workers can apply for the Sabbatical Leave Scheme supported by NCSS and the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund (VCF). The Sabbatical Leave Scheme provides seasoned social service professionals, including social workers, with paid leave and a Professional Advancement Sponsorship, to recharge themselves and develop their professional competencies.
5. MSF also works closely with the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW) to support social workers in various ways, e.g. through recognising their contributions at the annual Social Work Day and Outstanding and Promising Social Worker Awards.
6. MSF and NCSS will continue to work with our tripartite partners in the social service sector, through the Social Service SkillsFuture Tripartite Taskforce (STT), to support the development and retention of our social workers. Key initiatives that the STT have worked on include expanding more support to social workers through SASW’s Supervision Service, facilitating associate professionals in taking on some social work tasks to address issues of high workload contributing to professional attrition and burn-out.
 Supervision Service, facilitating associate professionals in taking on some social work tasks to address issues of high workload contributing to professional attrition and burn-out.