Pay hike for gov’t nurses via Congress resolution sought

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CONGRESS can file a joint resolution allowing a salary increase for government nurses after the Supreme Court upheld a higher salary grade under the law, a congressman said yesterday.

“The House of Representatives and the Senate have the option to pass a joint resolution putting into effect the higher starting pay of P30,531 for nurses employed by the national government,” Party-list Rep. Michael T. Defensor in a statement.

The high court early this month upheld Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act, which states that the minimum base pay of nurses in public health facilities should be at salary grade 15.

Mr. Defensor said Congress “could simply authorize the sourcing of the money from the lump sum ‘miscellaneous personnel benefits fund’ in the budget.”

“In any case, for us to be able to fund the pay increase, the House committee on appropriations has to ascertain the extra money required, and Malacañang, through the Department of Budget and Management, may have to certify the availability of funds,” he said.

Ang Nars Party-list in 2015 questioned before the high tribunal conflicting legal provisions on the minimum entry level pay grade for government nurses.

The group questioned an executive order issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo mandating that the salary for the position of “Nurse I” be increased from salary grade 10 to 11.

But the plaintiff noted that the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 places the minimum base pay of government nurses to not lower than salary grade 15.

A salary grade 11 worker receives a monthly pay of P20,754 to P22,829, while a salary grade 15 worker earns P30,531 to P33,279, according to data from the Department of Budget and Management. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras