The Magna Carta of Public Health Workers states that public health workers shall be compensated with hazard allowances equivalent to at least twenty-five percent (25%) of monthly basic salary of those receiving salary grade 19 and below, and five percent (5%) for those with salary grade 20 and above. These covers those public health workers in hospitals, sanitaria, rural health units, main health centers, health infirmaries, barangay health stations, clinics and other health-related establishment located in difficult areas, strife-torn and embattled areas, distressed or isolated stations, prisons camp, mental hospitals, radiation-exposed clinics, laboratories or disease-infested areas, or in areas declared under state-of-calamity or emergency for the duration thereof which expose them to great danger, contagion, radiation, volcanic activity/eruption, occupational risks or perils to life.
The hazard pay rate is deemed lower than what the health workers deserve considering their constant exposure to health hazards in hospitals and other health-care institutions.
Thus, last July 21, 2016, the Secretary of Health Dr. Paulyn Jean Ubial signed the order granting raise to hazard pay of state health workers. The hazard pay hike ranges from 5 to 20 percent, depending on the salary grade of the health workers. Those with higher salaries will be allocated five percent hazard pay, while those with lower salaries shall get the maximum hazard pay of 20 percent.
“In an outbreak in the country, the health workers will run towards the outbreak and will not run away from it. So we should give premium to the nature of the work of health workers that are constantly at risk,” she said.
Further, the Department of Health is set to review the standard salary scale of all public health workers. She added that the agency will look into ways on how to provide higher compensation for health workers assigned in “difficult areas.”
“I believe it is how it should be: equal work for equal pay. If you have more patients, you should have more compensation,” she said. “If they are assigned in conflict areas or geographically isolated areas, you should have bigger salaries. We are now looking at that.”
The agency head also proposes that health workers in far-flung areas should get more compensation that those serving hospitals in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. Moreover, health workers in hospitals with nurse-to-patient ratio of 1:20 must receive more than those in hospitals with 1:8 nurse-to-patient ratio.