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Review of Job Roles and Salary Guidelines in the Social Service Sector 2023

Type: Parliamentary Questions, All

Topic(s): Social service agencies & partners, Social service professionals, All

Mr Yip Hon Weng asked the Minister for Social and Family Development about the impacts of the realignment of job roles and salaries in the social service sector. In particular, the questions were (a) which specific job role and scope have seen a reduction in their recommended pay; (b) whether staff in these roles will experience a pay cut and, if so, how many are estimated to be affected; (c) whether agencies will consider grandfathering current employees facing a reduced salary; and (d) whether the reduction in salary will make it more challenging to find local workers to fill these positions.

Dr Tan Wu Meng asked the Minister for Social and Family Development with regard to the outcome of the 2023 review of job roles and salary guidelines in the social service sector (a) whether any senior care staff have been pegged to a lower job worth as a result of the realignment process; (b) whether potential implications for support care staff in the healthcare sector have been considered in the review; (c) whether a tripartite approach has been considered in the review and, if so, to what extent; and (d) if not, why not.


1. Sector salaries are reviewed regularly to ensure that salaries in Social Service Agencies (SSAs) remain competitive against comparable roles in competing markets. The recent review took into consideration the economic outlook, wage growth in the general market including healthcare and public service, the contributions of social service professionals, funding sustainability of SSAs and alignment with the Skills Frameworks for Social Service and Healthcare. In particular, the Skills Maps, which outline the range and levels of skills and competencies required for each job role, were developed and validated with representatives from the sector, the academia and the government. Arising from the review, some job roles were merged or right-sized. These include:

i. Adjusting the organisation budget ranges for Head of Agency roles;
ii. Merging Executive, Programme Coordinator, Programme Executive and Volunteer Executive into a single Executive role;
iii. Merging Social Worker (Entry) and Social Worker into a single Social Worker role;
iv. Merging Therapist (Degree) and Therapist (Diploma) into a single Therapist role;

v. Mapping the Senior Care Staff role to Social Service Assistant job grades, while reclassifying social work associates more appropriately to the Social Work Associate and Senior Social Work Associate roles.

2. The revised salary ranges for merged job roles provide greater flexibility for SSAs to hire employees at various competency levels, and to plan for their progression according to experience and performance. For merged job roles, the starting salary guidelines took reference from the blend of the merged grades, and are higher than the starting salaries of the lower merged roles before the review. As explained in an earlier reply provided by Minister Masagos to a Parliamentary Question on 21 Apr, the salaries for the right-sized Senior Care Staff role represents an increase in salaries once those, with competencies and performance at the job level of Social Work Associate, are reclassified into the correct job role.

3. NCSS has been supporting SSAs to implement the guidelines and to ensure that employees continue to be remunerated commensurately. Current staff should not have their salaries reduced as a result of the changes to the job roles. SSAs should continue to pay staff competitively, including paying above the guidelines if they are able to do so, in order to attract and retain quality manpower.