Brabant hospitality industry to help fill care staff shortages
Hundreds of hospitality workers and employers in Breda have signed up for a scheme that will temporarily place the workers in vacancies at residential care facilities and home health care positions across the western portion of Noord-Brabant. The joint project between catering association KHN and care provider Surplus was announced after the government introduced a partial lockdown that forced an immediate end to all in-person drinking and dining at bars, cafes and restaurants in the Netherlands.
So far, the program has drawn enough interest to provide the equivalent of between 75 and 100 full time jobs. Instead of the closed catering companies paying wages for employees during a lockdown which could extend into December, the bartenders, chefs, waitresses, managers and even some business owners will be paid by Surplus for the hours they work, broadcaster Omroep Brabant reported.
"I think it is really wonderful to see that our catering colleagues are enthusiastic about this en masse and want to help healthcare," said Johan de Vos, vice chair of the KHN chapter in Breda. De Vos, who owns a bar, will also participate.
Surplus benefits from the situation by being able to pay a lower amount than what it would cost to hire a temporary worker or a freelancer. In some cases, the workers will be placed as a host or hostess at a care center. Others will receive an accelerated training program to provide some care and orderly functions.
"They are looking at which position suits someone best in order to avoid disappointment. Everyone can also decide for themselves how much time they want to put into it,” De Vos told the broadcaster. “Some go to work full-time and others, for example, two days. It will be custom work and that is where the great strength of this collaboration lies.”
"Coronavirus demands a lot from all of us,” said Surplus board chair Anton van Marsum. "At this time we want to make maximum use of our care workers for their daily care tasks and to burden them as little as possible with other tasks. These tasks can also be performed by non-care workers.”
With Surplus paying the workers instead of the bars, the expectation is that dozens of job layoffs will be prevented. Another side benefit is that the hospitality workers can continue to feel like they serve a purpose when they might feel otherwise by remaining at home day after day.
“Surplus is looking for employees who want to give its residents a pleasant day, and the hospitality entrepreneurs want to create a situation in which their employees can continue to work,” Van Marrum said.
De Vos added that he hoped other organizations around the Netherlands follow their example.