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Pay hike for private sector nurses sought

A Metro Manila solon is pushing for higher salary for nurses in the private sector.

According to Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, there is a need to give nurses working in private hospitals a competitive salary so that they will opt to stay in the country.

The national government has lifted the ban on the overseas deployment of nurses and other health care workers.

Vargas filed House Bill No. 7784 or the Salary Increase for Private Sector Medical Workers Act which seeks to upgrade the minimum monthly salary of nurses and other medical workers in the private sector to equal that of their public sector counterparts. The salaries of workers occupying higher positions would also be adjusted accordingly.

“Our nurses and other health care workers in private institutions are criminally underpaid. The pandemic has only emphasized their important role not only in providing needed healthcare service but in addressing public health concerns such as COVID 19,” he said.

“There is no better time to give them proper compensation for their work. This would also help convince them to stay and continue caring for their fellow Filipinos,” Vargas added.

The entry-level salary of government nurses was raised this year from Salary Grade 11 or about P22,000 to SG-15, which is around P32,000, under the new Salary Standardization Law, or Republic Act (RA) 11466.

Meanwhile, data from the Department of Labor and Employment showed that entry-level nurses in the private sector only earn around P10,000 monthly.

All nurses and medical workers employed in private health facilities and institutions stand to benefit from the proposed salary increase should HB 7784 be passed into law.

With the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) setting a limit of 5,000 on the number of health workers who could leave the country, Vargas said it becomes even more urgent for government to ensure health workers employed locally are fairly compensated.