Senator Joel Villanueva has appealed to the executive department to consider a promotion of the salary grade of public nurses.
The chairman of the Senate labor committee made the call as he hailed on Monday, June 7, Malacañang’s reversal of a Department of Budget and Management (DBM) circular which, while raising the salary of an entry-level government nurse, demoted the positions of senior nurses by one rank, although retaining their salaries.
While thankful, Villanueva said the government should take “the next step” and reward nurses and other healthcare workers for serving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An increase in pay, he said, would be “a justice done to these brave frontliners who are working tirelessly during the pandemic.”
Villanueva noted that under the government sector pay scale, “a salary grade (SG) has ‘eight steps,” which means employees can remain in the same SG but can enjoy a pay hike if they move up the steps.”
Entry-level nurses in the public sector are in SG 16, whose Step 1 monthly pay is P36,628, but this goes up to P37,891 in Step 4, and P39,650 in Step 8, he said.
“To illustrate, three nurses on paper may all hold an SG 21 item, but will have the following differences in pay: Step 1, P60,901; Step 4, P63,777 and Step 8, P67,837,” he further said.
“Many nurses meet, if not exceed, the requisites for step increases based on existing rules, but agencies have been slow in granting them,” he lamented, adding that he has been pushing for the inclusion of funds for the wage increases in the annual national budget.
Villanueva said that ideally, a government worker who has performed well should be given a salary grade promotion, “but in the interim, and in between the SG promotion, a step increase will do.”
The senator also backed calls by nurses’ groups that the government pay back nurses who have been affected by the temporary demotion.
“The salary differential must be given to them immediately. The order must have a retroactive effect insofar as compensation is concerned,” Villanueva appealed.