The government should ensure that nurses are paid on time and have been receiving hazard pay and special risk allowance (SRA) if it doesn’t want them to seek greener pastures abroad, an organization of nurses said on Monday.
“We have several complaints from our nurses that they have not been paid on time for two or three months of their salaries,” said Filipino Nurses United (FNU) national president Maristella Abenojar in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“And others were not able to receive their hazard pay and special risk allowance in the past several months,” she said.
Abenojar appealed to the government to help the nurses get their back pay, hazard pay, and SRAs as the Christmas season nears.
“Pag bread winner ka, it’s so difficult na hindi mo alam kung saan kukuha ng ibibigay mong ipapakain mo sa pamilya mo or ipambibili mo na gamot para sa iyong parents or education ng iyong anak o mga kapatid (When you are a bread winner, it is difficult to look for the funds to feed your family, to buy medicine for your parents, to pay for the education of your children and siblings),” she pointed out.
“Two to three months delay in salary is really unjust,” she said.
Abenojar also reminded that healthcare workers are also getting infected and dying from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We have around 4,060 nurses now infected with COVID-19 as of the Nov. 7 data of the Department of Health,” she said.
“Many of our health care workers are dying because of this disease and yet we are not given the proper attention,” she added.
Abenojar also criticized the 5,000 annual cap set by the government for the deployment of health workers abroad.
“We have an average of 13,000 nurses going out of the country every year,” she said.
“So, if we only have 5,000 limited number of health workers to be allowed to work in other countries, how will the 14 other categories of health care professionals share the 5,000 allocation for working in other countries?” she asked.