The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed that the Health Promotion Board will be hiring swabbers and swabbing assistants on short-term contracts to facilitate in a wider COVID-19 swab testing effort.
Meanwhile, it was reported that swab assistants will be paid S$3,400, while swabbers will be paid S$3,800 per month. With the amount of pay, the job does not require any experience in healthcare.
Following the announcement of this particular vacancy for a short-term employment, an uproar broke out when a nurse shared her salary on social media, revealing a huge discrepancy between an inexperienced part-time swabber and a full-time healthcare professional.
Sim Hong Yu noted that the average salary for nursing graduates is S$1,900, adding that the salary increment would not reach S$3,800 even after five to six years of working.
“I do understand and accept that there’s higher risks involved in this application and also appreciate those who stepped forward to do this. However I really want to highlight the under carpet issue of salary differences,” she wrote.
In regards to this issue, Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching took to her Facebook on Sunday (17 May) to pen her thoughts.
Targeting the people who thinks their pay is unfairly lower than the swabbers, she asserted that they should “stop whining” and go volunteer to be trained to do the COVID-19 swabbing.
“For anyone who think their pay is unfairly lower than the swabbers, stop whining and go volunteer to be trained to do the swabbing.”
Mdm Ho explained that the volunteers are “being trained” for all sorts of paid jobs. She listed a range of jobs such as administration, swabbers, cleaners, patient services, logistics, drivers, as well as the front line workers in the red zones.
She also said that the Government does not take the volunteers for granted, adding that it pays them “properly”, while not forgetting to admit that the swabbers got a higher salary as compared to “easier and safer” jobs.
Mdm Ho went on to suggest that the volunteers are taught to keep themselves safe for the benefit of everyone, emphasising that there are “no two ways about it”.
“Yes, we teach them to keep safe, not just for their own safety, but also for the safety of their team, their families, their patients and potential cases. No two ways about it.”