Bill doubles starting pay for gov’t nurses to P60,901

Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan) has filed a bill seeking to double to P60,901 the entry-level monthly pay for government nurses to discourage at least some of them from seeking greener pastures abroad.

“Unless we assure our nurses a higher standard of living here at home, we are guaranteed to lose a larger number of them in the years ahead,” Defensor warned.

“We are already losing around 19,000 nurses every year to foreign employers. A decade ago, we were losing only 12,000 of them annually,” Defensor, House health committee vice-chairperson, said.

Malacañang on Saturday lifted the temporary ban on the overseas deployment of Filipino nurses and other health professionals.

The Palace removed the ban – previously imposed on account of the COVID-19 crisis – following persistent appeals from the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy that badly need new Filipino nurses, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Under Defensor’s House Bill 7933, the starting pay grade of all nurses employed in public health institutions will be bumped up by six notches – from Salary Grade 15 to Salary Grade 21.

At present, nurses employed by the government, such as those in Department of Health-run hospitals, receive a starting monthly pay of P32,053.

“We should at least provide our nurses the same starting pay they are getting from employers in the Middle East,” Defensor said.

“We cannot match the starting pay being offered by North American and European hospitals to Filipino nurses, but we can match the rate being offered by employers in Saudi Arabia, for instance,” Defensor said.

The starting monthly pay of Philippine-educated nurses in Saudi Arabia is equal to around P60,000 for those in hospitals and P80,000 for those providing “private duty” services, Defensor pointed out.

In Europe, the starting monthly pay of Filipino nurses is equal to anywhere from P115,000 to P137,000, while in the United States the rate is equal to around P185,000, according to Defensor.

Once Defensor’s bill is enacted, the starting monthly pay of public nurses will be revised upward in the following manner, in accordance with Republic Act No. 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019:

    • P60,901 (from P33,575) effective Jan. 1, 2021.
    • P62,449 (from P35,097) effective Jan. 1, 2022; and
    • P63,997 (from P36,619) effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, Defensor is backing the passage of a separate bill, introduced by Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, that seeks to raise the entry-level pay of government physicians to Salary Grade 24, or at least P86,742 monthly effective Jan. 1, 2021.