Nursing News

Solon files bill to upgrade salary grade of gov’t health workers

A lawmaker recently filed a bill in Congress pushing to increase the entry-level salary grade of government health workers, as a “gesture of recognition of their unselfish sacrifices and efforts in times of public health crises such as the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Congressman Rozzano Rufino ‘Ruffy’ Biazon, Representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa City, filed House Bill No. 6766 or the Government Doctors and Other Health Workers Salary Upgrading Act of 2020.

The measure seeks to increase minimum salary levels of the following health workers in government hospitals, research institutions, and local government units:
a. Physicians, except those occupying positions with Salary Grade 30;
b. Hospital Administrators;
c. Nursing Professionals which includes nurses and midwives;
d. Pharmacists;
e. Nutritionists and Dieticians;
f. Medical Technologists which include Acupressure Technicians, Medical Laboratory Technicians, Medical Technologists and Radiologic technologists; and
g. Occupational, Physical, Respiratory and Speech therapists.

In his introductory note, Biazon noted that the country is suffering from a shortage of government physicians and other health workers due to “migration in search of higher salaries and better opportunities.”

“It could get worse if we do not provide our doctors, nurses, midwives as well as other health workers better working conditions and decent pay and benefits commensurate to their qualifications,” Biazon said.

Biazon added that these health workers are at the frontline of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak response which exposed them to hazards that put them at risk of infection. These perils include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burn-out, stigma, physical and psychological violence, he added.

As of May 31, Department of Health reported that there already 2,606 health workers, mostly nurses and doctors, who were infected with COVID-19.

Biazon called the present entry-level salaries of public health workers as “pitiable and insulting”; hence he is proposing to upgrade their minimum salary grade by two salary grade levels.

In addition to incentives and benefits already granted them under existing laws, the measure is also pushing for Annual Loyalty Service Pay equivalent to 50% of the prevailing basic monthly salary to government physicians who have rendered at least three years of government service.

“It seeks to discourage the country’s medical professionals from leaving the country. It seeks to make their salaries more competitive. The bill also provides them a much-deserved additional benefit and incentive. But most importantly, this proposed measure is a gesture of recognition of their unselfish sacrifices and efforts in times of public health crises such as the COVID-19 outbreak,” he added.

Here’s the full text of House Bill No. 6766:

The bill was filed May 19, 2020 and now under the Committee of Appropriations.

In the first tranche of Salary Standardization Law V (SSL V) this 2020, nurses in government hospitals receive entry-level Salary Grade 11 of P22,316. Last year, Supreme Court ruled that government nurses should receive Salary Grade 15 or P32,053, but it was not implemented yet.

If the bill would be approved as a law, it will upgrade nurses to Salary Grade 17 which is at P38,464 monthly.