Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Bill makes illegal training fees for nurse apprentices

NAGA CITY—A bill has been filed at the House of Representatives seeking to classify as a crime the practice of collecting fees from nursing apprentices, which the bill’s author said has become prevalent among hospitals.

The bill was likely to win the support of groups of nurses that have been protesting the exploitation of new graduates and apprentices who are forced to pay instead of being paid for doing hospital work.

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House Bill No. 4900, authored by Rep. Salvio Fortuno (fifth district, Camarines Sur) seeks to outlaw the ongoing practice of hospitals across the country to demand fees from fresh nursing graduates so they can be allowed to work in these medical institutions for six months, without pay, under the guise of training.

These nursing graduates have passed the board examination but have no choice but to agree to the “pay for training” schemes of hospitals since they want to work abroad and need a certificate attesting they have worked in a Philippine hospital for at least six months.

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Fortuno said he considered the practice as “exploitation of the highest order” because these hospitals no longer hire regular staff nurses since the nursing apprentices are doing the job, not just for free, but with the hospitals earning from it.

He said the “pay for training” practice has been so prevalent that even government hospitals have joined the fray in exploiting the nursing apprentices.

Under the bill, which Fortuno said he filed last week, the “pay for training” scheme being implemented by most of hospitals in the country will be classified as a criminal act punishable by one year imprisonment, for the hospital administrator, and a fine of not more than P200,000, for the hospital.

He said he learned that hospitals demand as much as P20,000 from nursing apprentices without any assurances that they can land a job, either here in the country or abroad, after the training.

But with just so many nursing graduates and not enough jobs in hospitals here and abroad, these nursing graduates instead end up in call centers and other jobs not related to their courses despite the so-called training, Fortuno said.

Fortuno said under his bill, nursing graduates who passed the board exams and obtained licenses from the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) will undergo six months of training for free in any government or private hospital or medical center.

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