Training/OJT fee of nurses illegal under new bill
December 20, 2011
A bill banning public and private hospitals in the Philippines from requiring the payment of “training fees” from nurses have been approved by the House of Representatives on December 17.
If approved into law, the bill would make illegal the policy of hospitals of collecting fees in exchange for providing nurses with work experience.
House Bill (HB) 5445 or an “Act Prohibiting Public and Private Hospitals from Requiring the Payment of Money upon Post Graduate Nurses who want to Gain Work Experience from their Hospitals and Penalizing any Violation Thereof” was initially proposed by Laguna 4th District Rep. Edgar San Luis and the revised version was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives.
Under HB 5445, violators may face imprisonment of between 6 months to 1 year and pay a fine between P100,000 to P500,000.
Payment Refund, Monthly Salary
All nurses who will be required to pay the training or on-the-job training (OJT) fee will be entitled to a full refund plus an interest of 6% per annum.
At the same time, the bill proposes that nurse trainees be paid a monthly salary equivalent to the government’s Salary Grade 11, or roughly P15,000 a month.
“Plain and Simple Exploitation”
Congressman San Luis, the bill’s principal author, said that the practice of demanding payment in return for training is “plain and simple exploitation. No matter how the hospital administrators call the pernicious practice, whether it is training, skills building, volunteer work or whatever, it is unfair to the nurses and their parents who toiled hard and spent money just so their children will become nurses.”
Most graduates who passed the nursing licensure board exam choose to work as trainees or interns in hospitals in order to gain work experience that will boost their chances of being employed abroad or in high-paying local hospitals.
As volunteers, they usually do not receive salaries or allowances. To make things worse, they are required to pay hospitals a fee amounting to P5,000-P30,000 for a 3-6 month training.
230,000 unemployed nurses
Nurses have long complained about this practice to their schools and to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) but with the absence of an implementing law, the practice has continued until now.
The bill will benefit more than 230,000 licensed nurses who remain unemployed as of December 2011, as per data from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC). An additional 30,000+ new nurses will be added once the 2012 nursing licensure exam results are released.
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