As Covid-19 continues to persist in Singapore, more healthcare workers are being recruited to join the frontline in taking care of those who are down.
An open recruitment call for new people to step up as healthcare workers was put out on May 14.
The temporary job position was advertised as such:
A recruitment exercise for thousands of swabbers and swab assistants. Remuneration at $3800 and $3400 respectively.
This job will entail risks, so training will be provided and swabbers and swab assistants will wear PPE and masks.
Questions raised about disparity in salary for no healthcare experience
However, questions have been raised about the discrepancy in pay for these part-time positions as compared to standard industry remuneration for healthcare professionals with the requisite nursing background.
One nurse, who has 11 years experience in the field, has written a Facebook post highlighting the lower wages that nurses get, despite having the qualifications and experience.She wrote that she does "understand and accept" that there's a higher risk of catching Covid-19 for this current temporary job, but it does not explain the pay discrepancy.
She argued by asking if she can be paid more if she applied for this temporary job, since her nursing experience should be factored in: "If I apply for this job, do I get higher pay because I have a Degree in Nursing with 11 years experience? If no, then what message are you trying to put across?"
According to her, she was paid S$1,900 as basic salary in her first year.
After more than five years in the field, the salary of healthcare professionals are not even S$3,800 per month.
She ended her post with a sobering point: Pay healthcare workers better and not just provide platitudes on social media.
She wrote: "Don’t have to put up a big show of thanking us on social media, but give us tangible appreciation in our daily work. This is reality."
In other countries, such as Canada, essential workers are getting a pay raise this Covid-19 season:
You can read her full post here:
I am really appalled at how much the government is offering to pay for non-healthcare background people, I do understand and accept that there’s higher risks involved in this application and also appreciate those who stepped forward to do this. However I really want to highlight the under carpet issue of salary differences.
Do you know how much is the average nursing graduate pay? Our first year we are only paid 1.9k as a basic salary. (Perhaps times are better now) Up to 5-6 years, our basic salary has not even reach 3.8k.
And yet people with no healthcare background gets a 3.4k/3.8k immediately. Even the SQ Care Ambassadors get higher pay than our new graduates! Are you saying that our diplomas and degrees are worthless in the usual day? You mean healthcare workers do not face risks on usual day work?
You may say is a temporary job and higher risk with less benefits thus need higher compensation.
So I ask,
If I apply for this job, do I get higher pay because I have a Degree in Nursing with 11 years experience? If no, then what message are you trying to put across?
I hope after this pandemic, there will be reviews of pay for all healthcare workers. Don’t have to put up a big show of thanking us on social media, but give us tangible appreciation in our daily work. This is reality.