Nurses under individual labour contracts lose pay rise battle

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Issue 784, Page 3
Word count: 383
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The nine public nurses who are employed by individual labour contracts will not be able to have their pay rise backdated to July 1, 2007.

The bill to revise Health Bureau’s (SS) nursing personnel vocation system was approved finally in the second day of debate yesterday.

Leonel Alves and Jose Coutinho were the only two lawmakers who abstained from voting on Article 36 that says nurses under individual labour contracts will benefit from a pay rise only when the bill comes into effect.

The other 23 lawmakers cast a favourable vote for this article.

Yet, the nine concerning nurses can choose to sign a new individual labour contract with the government within 180 days, and based on the wishes of both sides, the salaries could be adjusted and the pay rise could be backdated to a certain date.

The other SS nurses who are employed within the civil service system will in contrast get a backdated pay rise from July 1, 2007.

The bill will come into effect the next day after being gazetted.

The changes will also include a new rank of “Senior Specialist Nurse” to be added into the current promotional structure, so that clinical nurses will be given more opportunities to be promoted.

In addition, the salary range will be from 25,370 patacas (based on the 430 entry-level salary point for Grade One Nurses) to 42,480 patacas (based on the 720 salary point for Nurse Supervisors at the highest level).

SS director Lei Chin Ion said in the Legislative Assembly yesterday that the nine nurses involved were recruited in their “personal capacity” and from outside Macau, and hence they were not being restricted by the civil service system.

However, Mr Lei said it also meant that those nurses were not required to start from the bottom level when entering the profession, and at the same time they were provided with “a better welfare package”.

The health chief also told the legislature the recruitment of nursing talents from abroad was to ensure Macau’s medical quality and maintain the public hospital’s “international image”.

Yet, Leonel Alves said it was not a fair play, as he believed that having better welfare and monthly allowances did not necessarily mean that the nurses’ right to be treated equally as their fellow workers could be exploited.

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