TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The health ministry said on Monday (Nov. 6) that all nurses in Taiwan will receive greater take-home pay by the start of next year, but the nurses union said the increase is not enough.
The health ministry said that nurses working at 21 ministry-affiliated hospitals throughout the country will receive a 4% pay increase up to a maximum of NT$2,500 (about US$78) per month before the end of this year, per CNA. Hospitals directly under the ministry’s authority will receive the same increase starting January 2024.
Nan-pin Yang (楊南屏) of the health ministry said that the average annual salary for nurses has already been increased via greater bonuses and allowances, starting from March this year. Yang said the average annual salary for nurses at ministry hospitals is now between NT$648,000 and NT$920,000.
Following the announcement, the Taiwan Union of Nurses Association released a statement thanking the ministry, though they said the raise fell short of their demands. The union said the annual salary for newly graduated nurses should be at least NT$700,000, excluding night shift pay, and salaries for more senior staff should be adjusted accordingly.
“Nursing staff have long been subjected to unfair treatment, unequal pay for equal work, affecting their willingness to stay (in the job,)” the statement read.
On Sunday, the health minister hinted at the upcoming pay increase saying that higher salaries would help “preserve capital.” The nurse’s union criticized this way of thinking.
“Raising salaries is not to ‘preserve capital’ but to fulfill the responsibilities of a public hospital,” the statement read. The union said that – particularly in rural areas – public hospitals provide services that private companies will not.
The ministry said that as of October, salaries at 18 public hospitals had already increased. It said those that are yet to do so are in rural areas, the outlying island provinces, or psychiatric hospitals.
The ministry’s Yang said that of Taiwan’s nurses, about a quarter are public employees, and the remainder work in private institutions. He said that in addition to increasing salaries, public hospitals will improve conditions for nurses to retain staff.
Yang said this will involve rolling out mobile nursing clinics, systems upgrades, and “smart work” practices.