TL; DR – Recognizing nurses: Over 25,000 nurses in Singapore serving in public healthcare clusters will receive a special payment package.
Nurse Special Payment Package
The details of the Nurse Special Payment (NSP) package, a special payment package was announced today (1 Aug) – nurses serving in public healthcare clusters will receive a payment of between 1.7 to 2.1 months of their base salary.
Public healthcare clusters refer to the National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth. About 2,600 nurses in publicly funded community care organizations will also receive the package.
0.5 months of the NSP will be paid out in December 2022, and the remaining 1.2 to 1.6 months of the NSP will be split equally into two payouts in March and September 2023. Nurses must remain in continuous service with their employers to receive subsequent payouts.
Balancing labour needs and competitiveness
To attract and retain healthcare workers and maintain market competitiveness, the base salaries of nurses in the public healthcare sector were reviewed. It was first reviewed in July 2021, which saw an increment of 5 to 14 per cent. The next review was in July 2022.
Staff of publicly funded healthcare organizations were also given up to S$4,000 in 2021 – termed the “Covid-19 Healthcare Award”, a one-time payment.
Nurses calling it quits
Before Covid-19, the turnover rate for nurses was at about 2,000 annually. In just the first half of 2021, there were already 1,500 nurses who quit their jobs. MOH reports that the attrition rate for foreign nurses was 14.8 per cent in 2021, as compared to the attrition rate for local nurses which stood at 7.4 per cent.
Thanaletchimi: “Radical change” needed
Ms. K. Thanaletchimi, president of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) welcomed MOH’s announcement of the NSP and its strategy, but called for the boldness to enact “radical changes” for the base salaries of nurses – in particular, staff nurses and enrolled nurses.
Ms. Thanaletchimi said that there was still “room for improvement” for the increases, citing that nurses’ salaries should be competitive when compared to other developed countries.
Beyond wages, the welfare of nurses can be further reviewed – such as offering nurses flexible work arrangements and ensuring that they are not overwhelmed by their patient management workload.