In July of 2020, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released Circular No. 2020-4, which led to a financial mishap for nurses. Longtime senior nurses had frozen salary increases while entry-level nurses were demoted. Following a June 1, 2021 memorandum by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, it has since been reversed–but the nurses are claiming their back pay.
A memorandum was released by the Department of Health (DOH) in October 2020, effectively suspending DBM’s circular. The Filipino Nurses United (FNU) association says that many hospitals still demoted their senior nurses. The controversial DBM circular raised entry-level nurses’ monthly salaries from roughly P22,000, which falls under salary grade (SG) 11, to roughly P32,000, or SG 15. Section 8, however, did not upgrade senior nurses’ salaries, demoting Nurses II to VII a rank lower. That was despite the retention of their salary level.
Nurse VII with SG 24 (P85,000) would fall to Nurse VI, but with the same salary. Nurse VI with SG 22 (P66,000) would fall to Nurse V, but with the same salary. And so on and so forth until Nurse II, who has SG 15 but rank-wise falls to Nurse I.
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Nurses Association has come out in support of a group of nurses from the hospital seeking P43 million in back pay. According to them, it covers the salary differentials of Nurse II-positioned nurses that come to 823. They make up a vast majority of PGH nurses, whose total is at 1,142.
PGH Nurses Association president Jossel Ebesate has said that while they’re thankful, they are also worried about not getting the differential back.
Nurse II alone is due a salary differential from January 2020 to June 2021 of P54,894. This is particularly crucial since despite the demotion and the risk of the pandemic, PGH nurses stayed on at the frontlines.