Fortuno bill criminalizes fees
being asked from nursing apprenticeship
By Juan Escandor Jr.
NAGA CITY—With a bill filed criminalizing the practice of demanding fees from nursing apprentices, exploitation of these nurses by hospitals through the so-called on-the-job training may become a thing of the past.
Seeking to criminalize the on-going hospital practice of demanding fees from nurse apprentices in exchange of free service under the guise of training House Bill 4900, authored by Rep. Salvio Fortuno (5th District, Camarines Sur), also prohibits private and public administrators from collecting fees from nursing apprentices who will undergo training at their hospitals.
“Under the bill, the ‘Pay for Training’ scheme being implemented by most of the hospitals in the country will be considered a criminal act punishable by one year imprisonment and a fine of not more than P200,000,” Fortuno said.
He said the hospitals demand as much as P20,000 from nursing apprentices without any assurance that they can land a job after training.
“Since no hospitals will hire them, nursing graduates instead land in call centers and other jobs not related to their profession,” Fortuno said.
He considers the practice “Pay for Training” an exploitation of the highest order.
“These hospitals will no longer hire registered nurses because the nursing apprentices are doing the job,” Fortuno said.
He said the practice of “Pay for Training” has been so prevalent that even government hospitals have joined the fray in exploiting the nursing apprentices.
Under the bill, nursing graduates who passed and obtained licenses from the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) will undergo a 6-month on-the-job free of charge training in any government or private hospitals or medical centers.
The bill provides that a nurse will not be allowed to leave for employment abroad unless the prescribed training has been completed as certified by the hospital or medical center concerned.
Fortuno said due to lack of employment opportunities in the country many nurses are compelled to seek better future for themselves and their families abroad.
“Many Filipino nurses are accepting lower medical jobs abroad due to declining demands in the United States and in the United Kingdom. The nurses and their families have made huge financial sacrifices and yet they are at the losing end,” he said.
Fortuno said the objective of the bill is to criminalize the practice of demanding fees from nursing apprentices while they are in on-the-job training at hospitals.