Licensing social workers and regulating their compensations in Beijing
Recently, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Beijing Metropolitan Government held a special meeting concerning the working status of social workers in Beijing. According to an official from the bureau, there are 120,000 full time employees working for 7,500 social organizations in Beijing currently and the bureau will design a system in order to regulate their status of employment and compensations. There are four categories of employers in China: government administration organs; civil services units attached to government and funded by government; business enterprises; and social organizations. However, till now, the government only established regulations for employment in the first three categories mentioned above, not including employment in social organizations. Upon establishing regulations for employment by social organizations, social workers’ employment status will be legally recognized by the government. At the same time, their compensations will be regulated based on the performance and efficacy of the work done by the social organization, which hires them. There are three types of social organizations: private non-business enterprise organization, social groups, and foundations. The statistics of the civil affairs ministry of China reports that there are 449,000 social organizations in the country at the end of 2011 and these organizations are involved in education, health, environmental conservation, poverty relief, disaster assistance, and social services.
According to the director of the Office of Social Organizations under the Civil Affairs Bureau of Beijing Metropolitan Government, social organizations should report to the government about all of their employment information, working projects, funding resources, employees’ compensations and etc. The government will regulate, provide guidance and tax incentives, purchase their services. The income for social workers employed by these organizations could be increased or decreased depending on the performance of their organizations. In the future, the government will design professional titles for qualified social workers in different type of social organizations, establish licensing procedure for them to be licensed as a professional social worker. Also, the government will encourage social organizations to play a role of social enterprises in terms of making some profits for their social services and hire more employees since social workers are only 0.2 % of working age population in China comparing to 6 % in developed countries.
Based on information provided by officials at the Civil Affairs Bureau, the government is going to transfer some social services to these social organizations and allow these organizations to provide care services to elderly people and conduct charity works.
(Compiled and translated by Yan Ding, Harvard Kennedy School, based on a news report from “京華時報”，Jinghuashibao, on Feb. 1, 2012. The following link is for the original report: http://www.ngocn.net/?action-viewnews-itemid-82371 )