The Flemish government has concluded a social agreement to ensure the creation of 3,716 jobs in the healthcare sector. Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) announced this at a press conference. According to Flemish Minister of Health Wouter Beke (CD&V), this is a “turbo on employment in the Flemish care and welfare sectors”. From this month onwards, the hard-hit Flemish residential care centers will already see an average wage increase of 6 percent.
“Early this morning, the Flemish government and the social partners signed an important agreement that brings excellent news for the Flemish care and welfare sector,” announced Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA). is an “unprecedented investment” of 577 million euros by the Flemish government to ensure that the quality of care is improved by, among other things, providing additional staff.
Part of the agreement, including the increase in purchasing power to 6 percent for healthcare workers, had already been announced at the end of last year. In that agreement, the Flemish government promised to release an extra 577 million euros annually: 412 million euros for extra purchasing power and 165 million for measures to ease the workload, such as more staff. This provided, among other things, that in the Flemish residential care centers there will be an average wage increase of 6 percent. There is now a package of extra efforts in terms of personnel on top of that, according to the Prime Minister. “This quality package represents an additional annual effort of more than 160 million euros.”
14,000 additional forces
“This social agreement puts a boost to increasing the quality of our care and gives more time to the staff and management of the care institutions to offer quality care,” continued Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke (CD&V). The government is committed to recruiting many additional employees, both in the private and public sector. Together with the expansion policy, the VIA-6 agreement should provide 14,000 additional jobs, it said.
Most jobs have to be created in the private sector, 2,862 FTEs. This includes care for the elderly (1,584 FTEs), childcare (428.6 FTEs), care for the disabled, youth welfare and welfare work (427.3 FTEs) and family and supplementary home care (323.13 FTEs). In the public sector, 854 jobs are to be created, mainly in elderly care (680 FTEs), childcare (123 FTEs) and home care (51 FTEs).
“If the corona crisis has proven anything, it is that we really need extra hands in healthcare,” said Jambon. “I am very happy that we now sought and found the financial means to be able to offer those extra hands effectively. Not only to provide extra capacity (for example additional beds), but also to improve the quality of our care. ”
We have the ambition to train 10,000 jobseekers every year for work in healthcare.
Action plan (side) intake 2021-2024
Flemish Minister of Work Hilde Crevits (CD&V) emphasized that the Flemish government will also take concrete actions to fill the vacancies. “We have the ambition to train 10,000 jobseekers every year for work in healthcare, and we also want to encourage more people to become interested in healthcare,” says Crevits. The minister hopes to build on the platform’s success helpindezorg.be, which proved successful during the corona crisis.
The Flemish government is therefore launching, together with the social partners, the Action Plan (side) intake 2021-2024. This plan should increase the visibility of care and welfare training in education and provide more training pathways to combine care and welfare training and work. For example, the Flemish government supports the development of a digital intake platform. ”A platform where you get a complete overview of your competences and diplomas at a glance and which training courses are needed to get started in healthcare”, dixit Crevits. The action plan also focuses not only on the recruitment of new staff, but also on retaining the current one.
Social partners satisfied
The social partners are satisfied with the agreement. “Everyone will make significant progress,” said Mark Selleslach, union representative. “It is an unprecedented effort, achieved after nine months of hard work, and the result is satisfactory,” says ACV’s Christophe Vandenbulcke.
The Flemish Welfare Association is also “very pleased” with the social agreement. “That offers hope and perspective after a particularly difficult year for our users and our employees,” the umbrella said in a response.
“Together with my colleagues from the Flemish government, I am proud of this VIA6 agreement, which – given the moment of signing – we will from now on call it the ‘Holy Week agreement’,” said Jambon. “You probably remember how, according to the evangelists, Holy Week ended: with the resurrection. The nurses, doctors and all other care providers help us to get up again – unfortunately not yet at the end of this week – to go back to full life, so to rise a little. ”
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