Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, has labelled those who complain that their salary is lower than the pay COVID-19 swabbers earn as “whiners” in a new social media post.
The Government is seeking to recruit swab-takers – or “swabbers” – and swab assistants to assist at healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who sign up to be a part of the swab operations team will earn a monthly salary of S$3,400 for doing the job of a swab assistant and they can go on to earn S$3,800 per month if they are promoted to being a swabber.
The pay range for those who sign up to take swabs drew some criticism online, with netizens claiming that swabbers who have no prior experience get paid a lot more than other qualified and experienced personnel in the healthcare sector.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) subsequently clarified that swabber and swab assistants are only employed on a short terms basis and do not have progression pathways, additional allowances or bonuses unlike full-time healthcare professionals. The ministry added that an entry-level registered nurses earns a gross monthly salary of between S$3,300 and S$5,200.
Ho Ching has now spoken up against those who question the pay swabbers earn. In a Facebook post published on Sunday (17 May), she wrote: “For anyone who thinks their pay is unfairly lower than the swabbers, stop whining and go volunteer to be trained to do the swabbing.”
The Prime Ministers wife, who also serves as chief executive of Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, added that those who sign up to help out during the pandemic will be compensated better since they could be at risk of infection. She wrote: “Covid volunteers are being trained for all sorts of paid jobs – from admin to swabbing; from cleaning to patient service; from logistics and driving, to frontline support in the red zones.
“We don’t take for granted their kindness and public spirit in volunteering – We pay them properly, and yes, we will pay them higher than for easier and safer jobs.
“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.”
For anyone who think their pay is unfairly lower than the swabbers, stop whining and go volunteer to be trained to do…