Following a presentation by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) on salaries in the social work profession, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Thursday that in February of 2018 the Executive Yuan rolled out a social safety net program (2018-2020) aimed at improving care for disadvantaged groups and at-risk households. In addition to establishing an integrated service mechanism and gradually building up the number of social workers to satisfy demand, the program is working to comprehensively rework wages in the profession, which will improve social worker morale while also raising the quality of services provided.
Last year saw the addition of 1,400 public-sector social workers, and the goal for 2020 is to attract a cumulative total of 3,000, the premier said. Meanwhile, this June and September, the Executive Yuan approved plans to adjust compensation for social workers in public and private organizations, respectively. Thorough implementation will began next year, and is expected to benefit more than 10,000 workers.
The program will not only create a reasonable salary structure for social workers, explained Premier Su, but also lighten the financial burden borne by private social work institutions by increasing subsidies paid to private employers to cover expenses associated with both pension reserves and labor and health insurance. The premier emphasized that this initiative marks the first time that the government has sought to systematize social work compensation. It is also a first for the central and local governments to synchronize implementation with the private sector. Expectations are high that the effort will provide social workers with the peace of mind to fully exercise their professional skills and further solidify the foundations of Taiwan's social safety network.