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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 19 July, 2019
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HSE to pay student nurses and midwives €6.49 an hour

Fourth year students who are due to go on placements will be paid, at best, 86 cent less than the national minimum wage, being paid €6.49 an hour for the first 12 weeks.

Image: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

Updated 9.22pm

FOURTH YEAR STUDENT nurses and midwives will paid €2 an hour less than the minimum wage this year.

The rate of €6.49 an hour is the minimum national training wage and would be in place for the first 12 weeks of the 36-week placement which all nurses and midwives undertake as part of their degree courses.

In the second 12 weeks, the pay will rise to €6.92 an hour, before rising to €7.79 per hour in the final 12 weeks. That is still 86 cent below the national minimum wage.

Extrapolated over a year, a student nurse would earn €15,869 before tax. A minimum wage worker on the same hours earns €17,542.

The student salary scale has been cut back year-on-year, with the end goal of abolishing it entirely, and this year the rate will be  53 per cent of a starter nurse. In 2010, a student nurse was paid €16,688 per year.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation say that they intend to challenge the pay rate, saying that it falls outside of minimum wage regulations.

We remain of the view that this is an incorrect interpretation of the National Minimum Wage legislation.

“In this regard we are arranging to have further direct discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on this issue.”

A letter from the Department of Health to the HSE, sent on 18 July, says that the Department had received a sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to revise pay scales for student nurses.

One student nurse, speaking anonymously to TheJournal.ie, said that the rate of pay would make the nine-month placement incredibly tough.

“I’m working part-time at the minute and earn nearly twice what I’ll be getting for working on a ward.

Because the placement is effectively a full-time job, I can’t keep up my current job, so I’ll be on not much more money for doing twice the amount of work.

The nurse added that far from being a trainee, student nurses are expected to be extremely responsible.

“You are expected to do a lot of work and are fully accountable for what happens on the wards. If there was a huge problem, you might call your supervisor, but otherwise you’re there to work as a full member of staff.”

A HSE spokesperson said that the rate was part of the Haddington Road Agreement.

“A requirement following the Haddington Road Agreement is that a nurse’s working week increases from 37 to 39 hours.  A review is being undertaken in order to ensure compliance with legislation governing the minimum hourly rate for nurses in the context of training positions.”

First published 4.06pm

Read: Nurses unions say HSE is “bullying” staff into accepting 15 per cent pay cut

Read: Mixed reaction to National Disability Strategy implementation plan

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