A bill seeking to set a favorable minimum wage for nurses working in private hospitals across the Philippines has been filed in the Senate.
Senate Bill No. 1837, recently filed by Senator Cynthia Villar, directs the National Wages Productivity Commission (NWPC) of the Department of Labor and Employment to set a minimum wage exclusively for nurses employed in private hospitals.
In setting the minimum wage, the following must be considered, Villar said:
- the cost of living;
- wage established for those in the public sector;
- the location and bed capacity of the private hospital; and
- the fair return of the employer's capital
Citing data from the DOLE's Bureau of Local employment, Villar said an entry-level registered nurse in the country receives a salary of P8,000 to P13,500 per month.
Experienced registered nurses in the Philippines, meanwhile, earn about P40,381 monthly. This is lower than Vietnam's P62,200 per month; Indonesia's P79,000 per month; Thailand's P83,000 per month; Malaysia's P97,000 per month; and Singapore's P236,400 per month, she added.
While acknowledging that nurses in public hospitals benefited from the recent upgrading of entry-level salary to Salary Grade 15 or equivalent to P32,503, the senator pointed out that those in private hospitals were not entitled to such.
"The nurses working in private hospitals continue to receive meager salaries. While they are burdened with long hours of work and constantly exposed to health risks, the low salaries they receive do not reasonably and fairly recompense them," she said.
"It is time to show our gratitude to our nurses by making their salaries and benefits not only commensurate to the services they provide but also comparable to those of government nurses," she added.
Under this bill, a public hearing among stakeholders must be conducted before the minimum wage for private nurses is set by the NWPC.
Private hospitals that would not comply with the proposed law shall pay a fine of not less than P100,000 and not more than P1 million for each violation.
"Any nurse who is a victim of a violation of this Act shall be entitled to back wages and full payment of unpaid benefits, as well as to the refund of attorney’s fees that may have been incurred in enforcing the concerned nurse's claim under this Act," the bill read.
A counterpart bill in the Lower House, filed by Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte, DUMPER PTDA Party-list Representative Claudine Diana Bautista and ACT-QS Party-list Eric Yap is pending at the committee level.
On Tuesday, the Filipino Nurses United also called on the Department of Health to recommend the inclusion of job order and contract of service nurses in the salary hike for entry-level government nurses. —KG, GMA News