NASW-NYC Guidelines for Minimum and Equitable
Social Work Salaries
Approved by the NASW-NYC Board of Directors
December 11, 2013
NASW-NYC has developed guidelines for social workers and employers for minimum salary levels, and these were approved by the Board of Directors in December 2013. NASW-NYC’s Board of Directors periodically adjusts its recommended salary levels based on changes in the Consumer Price Index, and this adjustment was the first since 2008. The Chapter first developed salary recommendations in 1993.
In approving these salary levels, the Board of Directors made the following essential points that put the salary levels into a broader context. The salary levels can best be understood within the context presented below, and should not be considered in isolation from these points:
- NASW-NYC believes that social work salaries should be fair and equitable based on experience, education, years in the field, and the value of the work to services and clients.
- Appropriate salaries are essential at every stage of a social worker’s career, and this needs to be reflected beyond the entry level, in the provision of steps based on experience, the attainment of specialized knowledge and skill, and changes in the cost of living. It is also appropriate to set salaries of social workers in supervisory and administrative positions at levels higher than these minimum guidelines.
- While setting minimum salary levels for professional social workers, NASW-NYC recognizes that many workers are living in poverty despite being employed. In addition, many non-professional staff employed in health and human service organizations are low paid. NASW-NYC supports and advocates a living wage for everyone.
- NASW-NYC recognizes that the salaries in these guidelines are minimum salaries, and many social workers are already paid more than these amounts. While NASW-NYC recognizes that the economic underpinning of many organizations can create barriers to increasing the level of compensation, NASW-NYC urges employers that pay social workers less than what are in these guidelines to make every reasonable effort to adjust their salaries.
- Social workers who earn more than the minimum levels presented here should have their salary level adjusted when salaries of other professionals who do comparable work or have similar levels of education, are paid more than social workers, within the same institution. These disparities can be significant and inequitable.
- In the setting of these salary levels, it is assumed that social workers are being given health and retirement benefits, sick leave and vacation time (although the extent of this does vary), and that they are being compensated for all of their work (e.g., paper work). When this is not the case, for example, when paid on a fee-for-service basis, adjustments should be made to compensate for this.
Based on the above points, NASW-NYC presents the following salary levels.
Social Workers at the Masters Level*
(All recommended salaries are minimums)
Beginning Salary $55,794
Three Years Experience $63,465
Baccalaureate Social Workers
Beginning Salary $44,151
Three Years Experience $50,772
* It is reiterated here that social workers are being given health and retirement benefits, sick leave and vacation time (although the extent of this does vary), and that they are being compensated for all of their work (e.g., paperwork).