“We have entered a huge storm in terms of labor shortages and we are slowly realizing that we will have to deal with this for the whole of 2022.” Yesterday, De Kleine Wereld, with fourteen daycare centers (KDVs) in Amsterdam, sent a letter with three sides to the parents and carers.
The message: closing groups cannot be prevented. “In the past period we also had to switch to closure and unfortunately that will not be the last time.”
Hero children’s centres, a major player in the Randstad with 20 kdvs, also struggle with this problem. “There is a huge shortage of personnel,” explains spokesman Astrid Bogerman.
“We normally have a pool of pedagogical employees that we can deploy in the event of illness. The people from that group have moved on to permanent contracts. But the group can no longer be supplemented, there are no more people with the right training.”
Making groups bigger is not possible through the leader-child ratio. For example, you must have three employees for nine babies and three employees for 16 toddlers. “Apart from illness, we now also have many quarantine cases. We are forced to close locations for a day as a result.”
Hero tries her hardest to find new people. For example, it has a partnership with training courses, it tries to keep interns in and employees who manage to find a colleague receive a bonus in the form of a fashion cheque.
Bogerman: “The whole bag of tricks has been opened up. And we also find new employees, but it’s a mess with the tap open. Also because of the high demand for shelter.”
At the Kleine Wereld they sometimes shift children to another group. A baby in group A less may mean that one less employee is needed. At Hero they don’t want to do this. “You want to use as many regular faces as possible. It really is a daily puzzle. You can certainly not ask working parents at daycare whether they want to keep a child at home.”
Managers in the workplace
CompaNanny, which offers care to more than 5000 children in the Netherlands with more than thirty branches, has also sent a letter to parents. “Over the past period, we have asked a lot of our employees to keep the groups going. Employees have filled in gaps at other locations, the management has been very supportive of the group and we have had to use freelancers.”
In October groups had to be closed anyway. “We are very aware that this is a very annoying and undesirable situation for parents and children, but we do have a realistic picture of the current situation that will continue for the time being,” said the company, which does not want to answer questions from RTL Z. .
Evening care closed earlier
The company has sought various solutions, according to the letter. The evening care is closed an hour earlier, for example, to reduce the workload for the staff. And children are sometimes placed in a different group because of the leader-child ratio. “We do this because in some cases we can ‘unlock’ a Nanny,” the parents explained.
The travel allowance has been increased to attract more employees. The company also trains employees through working and learning.
They also do this at Hero and at De Kleine Wereld, which explains in a letter to the parents that a crisis team has now also been formed to ensure that as few groups as possible have to close. Employees who work an extra shift receive 125 percent of their normal wage. All employees also receive a loyalty bonus.
How high it is is unknown. De Kleine Wereld does not want to answer questions from RTL Z.