BUSAN, July 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Nursing assistants working at hospitals and clinics in the southeastern port city of Busan are suffering from poor working conditions, as they have to take personal leave to quarantine for COVID-19.
Nursing assistants, in general, serve as assistants in patient care and diagnosis following the instructions of doctors or nurses at various medical institutions.
According to a survey conducted by the Busan Labor Rights Center of 731 nurse assistants within the city, 64.5 percent of 338 nursing assistants at small hospitals and clinics were not compensated under the basic wage system, which includes severance pay and allowances.
Their monthly wage averaged 2.15 million won (US$1,620), lower than the city’s living wage of 2.27 million won.
Their workload is also high due to the pandemic. Close to two-thirds of the nursing assistants at small hospitals and clinics replied that they used personal leave when they had a fever or respiratory symptoms.
“Even when I was sick, I had to continue to work since the hospital asked me not to get tested,” one respondent said.
In response to a question asking about the use of maternity leave, 31 percent of the respondents said they ‘don’t know,’ indicating that there would be a larger number of cases where nursing assistants cannot afford to take maternity leave at all.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)