Thousands of home helps laid off
Home care providers have laid off thousands of home helps over the past few weeks and more are set to follow because of new rules on funding, according to ActiZ, the umbrella organisation for the sector.
A spokesman for ActiZ told the NRC on Tuesday that the estimated number of job losses is 8,000 so far. The lay-offs are the result of a new law making councils responsible for the provision of home helps for the sick, elderly and handicapped.
Under the new law, home care providers have to compete with each other for contracts with their local council. Competition is so fierce and margins are being cut so sharply that many contractors can no longer afford to pay staff.
Others are asking home helps to resign and reapply for their job as a freelancer, so losing their pension rights and holiday and sickness benefits. Such ‘freelance’ workers earn around €10 gross per hour, the Volkskrant said.
In Amsterdam, for example, agency Vierstroom is sacking all its 1,050 workers and replacing them with freelancers.
ActiZ officials are expected to hold an emergency meeting with the local government association and the health ministry next Monday to discuss the problem.
A spokesman told the Telegraaf that junior health minister Jet Bussemakers is taking the job losses very seriously. Bussemakers has already said she is against laying off home care workers and rehiring them on lower pay and conditions. She has also already made €20m available to free up bottlenecks in the system.
One solution could be government money to train laid-off home helps to work in other parts of the home care system, ActiZ told the Telegraaf.
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