Despite their long working hours, nurses earn just NT$41,878 (US$1,400) per month on average, and they often do not receive overtime pay, according to a poll released yesterday.
Nursing salaries vary depending on the institution at which they work, with medical centers offering the highest pay of NT$45,383 on average, the survey released by the Taiwan Nurses Union showed.
Nurses in regional hospitals receive NT$39,397 per month on average, while local hospitals pay NT$41,188 on average, according to the poll, which was released ahead of International Nurses Day on Sunday.
Union director Jane Lu (盧孳艷) said nurses usually have to put in many extra hours, often without pay.
They log an average of 82.85 extra hours per month, working overtime and attending conferences and classes, she said.
About 55 percent of medical institutions do not offer overtime pay, and only 29 percent allow nurses to take time off instead, Lu said.
She said there have been complaints about hospitals circumvent the overtime regulations and monitoring by labor authorities by asking employees to continue working after they have clocked out.
Lu urged the government to put a stop to such practices, which she described as damaging to the rights of nursing personnel in Taiwan.
In addition, the government should make its allocation and use of funds transparent and open to review, she said, commenting on a proposal by the Department of Health to budget NT$2.5 billion this year to subsidize the incomes of nurses.
The survey, conducted between Feb. 1 and April 30, was based on 154 valid samples, Lu said.