DOLE issues order against exploitation of nurses, other health workers

Finally, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued an order which seeks to end exploitation of health workers particularly in the private healthcare industry.

Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a Department Order No. 182-17 entitled Guidelines Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Health Personnel in the Private Healthcare Industry on Friday, September 22, 2017.

The order seeks to ensure the protection and welfare of health personnel such as nurses, physicians, nutritionists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians, paramedical technicians, psychologists, midwives, attendants and all other allied health professionals.

It also aimed to end all forms exploitation such as false volunteerism, false trainings, and contractualization of health workers.

The measure is a product of inter-agency consultation on such concerns participated by DOLE-BWC, DOLE-OSHC, DOLE-NCR, DOH-HHRDB, ILS, PAMET, PRC-BON, OHNAP, PTAP, PCOM, PNA, ANG NARS and Hospital Unions.

Advocacy group Ang Nars Partylist previously exposed the practices of false volunteerism and false trainings to Secretary Bello, which then promptly ordered the creation of a group that will investigate the reports that thousands of graduate nurses are paying hospitals up to P10,000 and working for months without salaries under the guise of "training" to have a higher chance of being employed as a regular staff and obtain job experience.

Dr. Leah S. Paquiz of Ang Nars was deputized as sectoral representative "to conduct Special Assessment or Visit of Establishment of hospitals and medical institutions to assess, validate and verify compliance with general labor standards (GLS), occupational safety and health standards, and other pertinent labor laws and social legislations," based on DOLE AO No. 231- B.

Some of the salient points of the new department order:
• Removal of all False Volunteerism & False Trainings
• No more Contractual/Job Order for health workers
• No health worker shall be paid below minimum wage
• Overtime pay for work over 8 hours (example: long endorsement)
• Overtime pay if you work 6 days in a week
• No compressed work week (12hours x 4days)
• Free Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) for all workers, including students and medical interns
• Right to join Unions and do Collective Bargaining
• Night Shift Differential, Holiday pay

Please read the full text of the DOLE Order No. 182-17 below or download it through DOLE's website.

The order covers only private establishments, but the Ang Nars and Filipino nurses hope that the same guidelines will be applied to workers in government.

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