Minimum Wage Established for Doctors and Nurses

A new minimum hourly wage will be put in place for doctors and nurses working in clinics involved in the state’s universal healthcare program, effective from January 2023. Doctors will be paid GEL 7 per hour, while nurses will be paid GEL 4.4 per hour. The new regulation was announced on January 9 by Georgia’s Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Labor, Health, and Social Affairs.

The Ministry of Health talked about the reform for the first time at the end of November 2022. The Ministry then explained that the new regulation would affect up to 9,000 doctors and more than 8,000 nurses, with the monthly minimum salary for doctors being GEL 1,260 and for nurses becoming GEL 792. 

“The minimum salary for doctors and nurses will gradually rise in the coming years. By 2025, the minimum wage for a doctor will be GEL 9 per hour, and for a nurse – GEL 5.6,” the Ministry of Health noted at the time, adding that this would contribute to “increasing employee motivation and productivity, improving [their] working conditions and the quality of medical services.”

In addition, from January, the Labour Inspection Service will be in charge of overseeing the implementation of the minimum wage regulation.  “The office will have an appropriate, strict response to any unscrupulous actions carried out by employers, and the rights of all employees will be protected in accordance with the law,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement. 

According to the Ministry of Health, when they began studying the issue of minimum wages for doctors and nurses in 2022, the hourly wages of doctors in private clinics ranged from GEL 5.5 to GEL 6.2, and the amount of minimum wages for nurses and other medical personnel, taking the doctor’s wages into account, was determined with different percentages.

Reactions of CSOs

The Fair Labor Platform, consisting of seven local CSOs, applauded the Ministry decision to establish a new minimum hourly wage for doctors and nurses, but noted that “the measure falls short in several respects.”

The CSOs stated in November last year that “the reform does not address other systemic labor challenges facing medical workers” and “while the number of employees covered is significant, many medical workers will remain unprotected by the new wage law.”

Among other things, the CSOs named unregulated working hours and overtime; excessive and unregulated patient-to-nurse ratios as the main challenges facing the medical personnel. According to the Fair Labor Platform,“medical sanitation workers are also excluded from new minimum wage regulation, despite typically working in horrendous conditions,” adding that these challenges “are a major driver behind the exodus of trained medical workers from the profession – and from Georgia itself.”

“Steps taken by the state to ensure labor rights and decent remuneration in the healthcare sector must be of a systemic nature – not fragmented – if they are to have a real impact,” the statement reads. 

The Platform member CSOs called on the authorities:

  • to regularly revise the new minimum wage rates for doctors, nurses and other medical workers and to bring them closer to the living wage, which is currently estimated at 1,770 GEL in Georgia;
  • to proactively inspect medical facilities in order to eliminate normalized wage theft and other labor violations in the sector;
  • to develop and approve standards, based on international standards and best practices, that impose limits on nurse-to-patient ratios and to ensure the supervision and implementation of this regulation in practice.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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