Congress moves to impose minimum wage for nurses in private hospitals

The House of Representatives is moving to pass a law that would establish a minimum wage for nurses in private hospitals.

Proposed House Bill No. 7569, authored by Representatives Paolo Duterte, Claudine Bautista and Eric Yap, directs the National Wages Productivity Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment to establish an increased minimum wage for nurses in private hospitals.

The following factors will be take into consideration in determining the minimum wage for nurses in private hospitals to wit:

1. cost of living
2. wage established for work in public sector or in other jurisdictions by employers who voluntarily maintain reasonable standards
3. location of the private hospital
4. private hospital’s bed capacity
5. fair return of the employer’s capital

“A minimum wage to be established under this Act for nurses in private hospitals shall be that which is adequate as is economically feasible to maintain the minimum standard of living necessary for the health, efficiency, effectiveness and general well-being of nurses in private hospitals, and must also take into consideration the particular circumstances of private nurses’ government counterparts. Additionally, nurses who are receiving salaries higher than the minimum wage that will be set by the NWPC shall be adjusted and increased accordingly,” the proposed bill read.

The bill also stipulates that nurses working in private hospitals shall be provided all the benefits found under the Labor Code, Magna Carta of Public Health Workers or Republic Act No. 7305, and other relevant laws, government announcement, rules, or regulations, including, but not limited to, overtime pay, night-shift differential, on-call pay, hazard pay, subsistence allowance, housing allowance, free annual physical examination, and free hospitalization.

The bill also provides fine of not less than P100,000 or not more than P1 million for hospitals for each violation once it becomes a law. Any nurse who becomes a victim of the violation shall also 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 as a consequence of any attempt by a nurse to enforce his right under this Act.

In their explanatory note, House Rep. Duterte said that private nurses only receive an average of P9,757 per month while government nurses receive anywhere from P19,845 to P30,531 per month. Abroad, Filipino nurses receive from as low as P114,000 to as high as P200,000 per month salary plus benefits.

“This Bill is not merely filed to increase the financial benefits of nurses, but to show that the State is supporting our nurses and valuing our healthcare workers as they battle the pandemic and other deadly diseases head-on. This measure is simply the least we can do to support our frontline health workers. As such, earliest approval of this Bill is earnestly sought,” stated the authors.

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