Salary hike of gov't nurses eyed in 2021 PH budget

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2020 07:28 AM

A public health nurse makes a call to a COVID-19 patient using the COVID Telemed System during its demonstration and launch on August 27, 2020, at the Batasan Health Center in Quezon City. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Government nurses may get a salary increase next year, once the proposed special provision in the 2021 national budget for their compensation adjustment is approved.

Misamis Occidental 2nd District Rep. Henry Oaminal made the proposal during Thursday’s House plenary debates on the Department of Health’s proposed budget for next year.

Under the proposal, the following salary grade adjustments will be implemented:

  • Nurse 1- from SG 11 to SG 15
  • Nurse 2- from SG 15 to SG 17
  • Nurse 3- from SG 17 to SG 19
  • Nurse 4- from SG 19 to SG 20
  • Nurse 5- from SG 20 to SG 22
  • Nurse 6- from SG 22 to SG 24
  • Nurse 7- from SG 24 to SG 25

Based on the second tranche of the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, which is scheduled to begin in January 2021, that would be equivalent to a minimum wage of P33,575 to a maximum of P98,886 for government nurses.

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The proposal came after groups of nurses decried the seeming “demotion” of non entry-level government nurses under the Department of Budget and Management circular that adjusted nurse positions along with the implementation of salary hike for Nurse 1 position.

“The spirit of the law… is not only to upgrade the entry level salary of nurse one, but it should affect the salary of higher positions such as nurse 2 to 7,” Oaminal said.

“We have to place a special provision of the General Appropriations Act of 2021. Because if we are going to file a legislation… it will probably take the next Congress to act on it favorably considering the lack of material time,” he added.

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The Department of Health (DOH) and House Committee on Appropriations Vice Chair Rep. Micaela Violago support the proposal.

“The DOH and I will support this proposal for the special provision for compensation adjustment of nurses,” Violago said.

MORATORIUM ON DOWNGRADING NURSE POSITIONS

The DOH will issue a moratorium on implementing the downgrading of nurse positions under DBM’s circular, according to Violago.

Under Section 8 of the budget circular, those under Nurse I and II will be under the position Nurse I and receive Salary Grade 15. Those under Nurse III will be reclassified under Nurse II and will still receive their current salary of SG 17.

Those under Nurse IV will be reclassified under Nurse III and will still receive their current salary SG 19, and so on.

Finally, those under Nurse VII will be reclassified as Nurse VI and will still receive their current salary of SG 24.

“Habang hindi pa nagkakaroon ng finality sa usapin ng kung paano ita-trato ang demotion, dapat ito ay ‘wag munang ipatupad,” Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said.

“Mag-iissue nalang po ng moratorium ang DOH para matigil muna ang pag-sign ng ating mga nurses,” Violago replied.

Quezon 4th District Rep. Helen Tan, who chairs the House committee on health meanwhile said the agency’s proposed 2021 budget of P204 billion was not enough.

Tan said the agency had to improve its data management and surveillance systems, which posed a problem at the onset of COVID-19 crisis.