By VIRGIL LOPEZ,GMA News, 27 Sep 2021
An organization of nurses on Monday opposed the proposal of the Department of Health (DOH) to provide a “singular allowance” for healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In a statement, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) said it found the proposal “ill-conceived and a heartless move” as it “will effectively reduce the present package of monetary benefits,” which includes active hazard duty pay (P3,000), special risk allowance (P5,000) and meals, accommodation and transportation allowance (P8,000).
“Fact is, payment of these benefits for health workers continue to be delayed and thousands of health workers are even unjustly excluded and deemed ineligible per DOH’s listing,” it said.
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Under the DOH’s “singular allowance” proposal, healthcare workers will receive the following rates depending on their risk exposures: P3,000 for low-risk exposure, P6,000 for medium risk exposure, and P9,000 for high risk exposure.
The DOH defines a “low risk” healthcare worker as performing administrative duties in non-public areas of healthcare facilities, away from other staff members or away from patients.
Those providing care to the general public who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients or working at busy staff work areas within a healthcare facility are classified as “medium risk.”
Healthcare workers who are entering a COVID-19 patient’s room; providing care for COVID-19 patient not involving or involving aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation, cough, induction procedures, bronchoscopies, some dental procedures and exams or invasive specimen collection; and collecting or handling specimen from known or suspected COVID-19 patients are considered as “high risk.”
“We view the DOH-proposed singular allowance as a divisive and unjust cost-cutting measure that reflects the government’s little regard for the selfless work and sacrifice exerted by health workers in this time of pandemic,” FNU said.
“This is actually a violation of the labor law that there should be no ‘diminution in benefits’ of employees.”
The singular allowance system was proposed by the DOH on September 24 when the Senate tackled bills that seek to universally accord benefits to medical frontliners.—LDF, GMA News