The solution to the staff shortage may be closer than you think: under the noses of employers. In healthcare, childcare and education, they are now trying to entice their own staff to work more hours in exchange for a bonus. And that seems to be paying off.
At the Rijnstate hospital in Arnhem, they notice the shortage on the labor market, just like in the rest of the healthcare sector. So there are always vacancies to fill. Previously, gaps in the roster were often filled by self-employed persons without employees or personnel through a secondment agency. But that is relatively expensive. So in November the hospital asked if staff wanted to work extra temporarily, in exchange for an additional work bonus.
At the Arnhem hospital, the use of this bonus proved successful. Nurses and other staff were enthusiastic. They were willing to help the hospital out of the fire for a financial bonus. Dozens of nurses worked 400 extra hours a week. In other words: more than eleven extra full-time jobs. In times of staff shortages, this gives the hospital a breath of fresh air.
The hospital itself is also satisfied and is considering a follow-up. The aim is to increase the number of hours of part-time workers and thus have enough staff for patient care.
Rijnstate prefers not to say anything about the amount of the bonus. This amount is not the same for everyone. “That is something between the manager and the employee,” says spokesperson Maurice Velthuis.
Teachers are open to working more
In the meantime, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is investigating what the additional work remuneration could look like in the entire healthcare sector. Results are expected this spring.
In primary education, a pilot for an additional work bonus for teachers at fourteen participating schools will start in April. Here, too, the Ministry is investigating what such a bonus should look like. Initial survey results show that 37 percent of part-timers in primary education would like to work more hours.
Childcare staff sets conditions
In childcare, too, research is being done into how staff, half of whom work less than 25 hours a week, can structurally work more hours. Initial results show that half of the employees in childcare would like to work more hours. The figure for out-of-school care (bso) is 68 percent.
“On average they want to work an extra 4.4 hours per week and 7 hours for out-of-school care. That is really substantial, half or a full shift per week,” says regional manager Yvonne van Schaik of Kind & Co Ludens. “The potential in childcare is great.”
The staff who want to work extra does set conditions. It must be financially attractive. And if they don’t like working extra hours, they want to be able to give them back. In the coming months, the living lab will examine how other childcare organizations can encourage more work.
National effort to encourage full-time work
A national full-time bonus, to encourage full-time work, is being considered by the cabinet. Minister Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs and Employment) is currently investigating what is possible.
In the autumn of 2022, trade unions were not yet very enthusiastic about the plans to encourage full-time working. According to them, the problem of work pressure and staff shortages is thus placed with the staff. FNV believes that the cabinet “just assumes that everyone can work full-time”.
Campaign to get women to work more hours
The incentive to work more is aimed specifically at women. This week, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment launched a campaign in which women in healthcare discuss how they like the increase in the number of contract hours.
Women are central because they more often work part-time in sectors with large staff shortages, such as healthcare and education.