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March 1 wage increase for student nurses

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has welcomed the proposals to increase wages for students’ nurses and midwives.

The proposals are to come into effect on March 1 after joint efforts of SIPTU nursing the Department of Health, PNA, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, independent facilitator Sean McHugh, HSE and INMO, with supporting research by USI.

The USI found that 93% of student nurses have thought about emigrating when they qualify. USI are hopeful that this number will decrease once the pay increases come into effect. Student nurses and midwives are currently paid below the minimum wage at a rate of €6.49 an hour.

“USI welcomes the action by the Government to relieve the strain on financially crippled student nurses,” Kevin Donoghue, USI president, said.

“I read about one nursing student who was paid just €374 after tax for working 114 hours in three weeks, which equates to a mere €3.28 an hour. This change in the wage increase means that student nurses and midwives a more secure financial position,” he added.

The current hourly rate for the first 12 weeks is €6.86. This will be changed to €9.48 – an increase of €2.62. The current hourly rate for the second 12 weeks is €7.32. This will be changed to €9.48 – an increase of €2.16. The current hourly rate for the final 12 weeks is €8.24. This will be changed to €9.48 – an increase of €1.24.

“What this means for the current nursing and midwifery students is that those currently on placement will have the new rate applied, from March 1.Those currently in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year will have the increased rate applied for the duration of the placement.”

“While we are happy at the progress made, we are disappointed that the same incremental credit could not be applied to those who have qualified since 2011; and from whom it was removed, but acknowledge that the Department of Public expenditure and Reform has agreed to set up a review of the effects of the reduction of this incremental credit on the ability of the Health Services to retain and recruit qualifying nurses and Midwives,” Mr Donoghue said.

Phil Ni Sheaghdha, director of industrial relations at the INMO, said,“There is a lot more work to be done for student nurses and midwives. The unions are completely committed to fully engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Health in order to secure incremental credit for these categories of nurses, to ensure they receive the same benefit as those qualifying in 2016.”

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