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Response To PSA Release On Social Worker Salaries

29 September 2004

Statement In Response To Psa Release On Social Worker Salaries

Statement from Steve Welsby, Acting General Manager, Human Resources: Child, Youth and Family would like to clarify figures issued today by the PSA in relation to social worker salaries.

The Department is currently reviewing its Social Work Workforce Capability Development Strategy, and has had an intensive and independent study completed by consultants Martin Jenkins & Associates Limited to inform this. The report has looked across the full range of workforce issues, including examining remuneration and starting and maximum pay rates for other similar/parallel professions.

It concluded that remuneration at Child Youth and Family was reasonably well aligned externally with other similar/parallel occupations:
Profession Minimum starting salary Maximum starting salary
CYF Social worker (level B qualified) $35,000 $50,000
Primary Teacher $36,256 $53,638
Nurse $33,917 $47,500
Police $46,125* $68,493*
Probation Officer $36,050 $49,440
Sourced from Martin Jenkins Report 30 June 2004 * Note that police salary rates include a 30% loading for shift work.

Care needs to be taken in making comparisons across different occupational groups, as employment terms and conditions do differ. For example, police pay rates include a 30% loading for shiftwork so do not compare directly.

As the largest single employer of social workers in New Zealand, Child, Youth and Family employs approximately 14% of the social workers working in New Zealand.

CYF Social Worker Pay Progression

Child, Youth and Family social workers are appointed to a salary range. The current starting salary for a qualified social worker is $35,000 with a range maximum of $50,000.

Progression through the salary range is based on the development of an individual’s competence and performance in the role, as opposed to automatic annual increment.

Remuneration is reviewed annually, with progression occurring as the social worker develops the skills in social work practice and attains the performance required by the Department.

Pay and Employment Equity

A Pay and Employment Equity Unit has been established within the Department of Labour to lead an agreed plan of action resulting from the Government-established Task Force on Pay and Employment Equity in the Public Service, Public Health and Education Sectors.

The Department looks forward to development of the new pay equity tools by the Department of Labour.

PSA Forum
The Department is active in the area of workforce development and monitors workforce issues closely, including remuneration.

The Department and the PSA have an agreed joint forum in which remuneration issues, including pay equity, will be discussed and a meeting date for this has been scheduled.

CYF Workforce Development

The Department put a workforce development plan in place for its social work workforce and has been actively working on this since 2001, achieving some very pleasing results:

Retention of our front-line staff has improved dramatically with turnover reducing down from 15.6% in 2001 to 9.5% for year to 31 March 2004. For social work positions this reduction has been even greater from 17.8% to 10.8% at March 2004. This is the lowest turnover we have ever had as a Department.

As at 30 June, just under 60% of our front-line social work staff hold a tertiary qualification in social work at level 6 or higher, compared with 41% in 2001. This compares favourably to the wider sector , with 19% of individuals working in social work in NZ having a degree level qualification (mostly not in social work).

This is the result of the Department implementing a wide range of workforce development initiatives, including but not limited to improved salary levels for its social work staff and the introduction of a new competence based pay progression system.

The Department is currently considering the Martin Jenkins & Associates report to develop its response and a robust implementation plan of actions and priorities, and engaging with other members of the sector on its findings. This will set out its goals and activities for the continued development of our workforce for the next few years.


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