Acute staff shortages in child care sector

Acute staff shortages in child care sector
Photo Credit: Note Thanun

The staff shortage at childcare organizations is acute. It is hard to find new employees. There are more than 500 vacancies, according to research from Omroep Brabant. And that has major consequences.

In March this year, parents with children at NummerEen Childcare in the Kempen received the bad news that a number of locations and groups would be closing after the May vacations due to a lack of staff. We received signals from other childcare organizations that it is difficult to find enough staff.

Omroep Brabant asked 240 childcare organizations whether they suffer from staff shortages and what the consequences are for them. This resulted in 104 responses, from both large and small childcare organizations across the province.

57 childcare organizations, in some 458 locations in Brabant, indicated staff shortages within their organizations. 47 childcare organizations, in 59 locations, indicate that they are not suffering from staff shortages. The vast majority are therefore diligently looking for new employees.

Extra hours of work
“Everyone has to work for extra hours during sickness and vacation times.” This has profound implications for parents and their children as well as employees. The most frequently cited consequence of the shortages is the excessive workload. Organizations indicate that employees have been putting in extra hours since corona time.

The current staff shortage means that this is still the case. “That means in the longer term, more people will drop out due to illness,” says an organization in Southeastern Brabant.

According to the organizations, there is, therefore, more demand for care, but there are few possibilities for expansion. Waiting lists are getting longer and groups sometimes have to close temporarily.

Permanent contracts

Permanent contracts are issued earlier and organizations seek cooperation with vocational education. For example, they are hiring more and more interns with the aim of retaining them once they have completed their training. Office staff and directors are also deployed in groups.

“The administrative task of a pedagogical employee has unfortunately only increased.”
We also hear that pedagogical employees are given administrative tasks that do not really belong to them.

Strict rules

With that, they also refer to the stricter legislation in place since 2018, which requires more employees with a smaller number of children. One of the organizations notes that it is especially difficult to find good employees for after-school care.

“The times and contract hours are not attractive. It’s all about the hours after school (2:00-6:30 p.m.) and those are precisely the times when the children of the employees themselves are at home.”

The organizations would like to get rid of long waiting lists and would wish to find substitutes easily and faster. “But it is a great profession.”

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translation: Chaitali Sengupta. She also gives online INBURGEING classes.

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