Kita crisis: Employers, get involved! – Business

If the day care center closes earlier because a teacher has resigned or got sick, then many people have a problem. The already overburdened specialists in the facilities. The parents who continue to have to work minus hours to look after their children. The children who are torn out of their routines and feel the pressure their parents are under. But also employers. You cannot currently plan reliably with employees who are also parents of small children.

The day-care center crisis that Germany is currently going through, because there is a lack of staff and insufficient political commitment, is an economic and social catastrophe. Employers can’t do much about this situation. Nevertheless, they should do more than they have done to date to improve the situation. It’s time they used their lobby to get through to politics – in the interests of their employees, but also on their own behalf.

The Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) rightly demands that the federal, state and local governments need “a joint strategy with specific measures to recruit, secure and provide additional qualifications for early childhood education professionals”. When it comes to the situation in the daycare centers, the federal, state and local governments blame each other. The core of the crisis lies in this undignified tugging.

Even companies can’t conjure up pedagogues – or maybe they can?

And yet employers could be more involved in the solution. Ten or 15 years ago they founded new company kindergartens one after the other. If the state itself does not manage to look after the youngest reliably and in a way that is appropriate for children, companies should help themselves more often. They need skilled workers more than ever – and these skilled workers in turn need and want to know that their children are reliably cared for. Even employers cannot conjure up pedagogical specialists. But they are more familiar with personnel marketing and possible incentives for educators than many municipalities that have overslept the topic for years. As has already happened in the past, smaller companies could join forces and jointly create childcare options.

Unfortunately, one gets the impression that many employers are increasingly declaring childcare to be a private matter instead of a management issue. There is no question that in many places empathetic entrepreneurs and executives give stressed parents the postponement of projects and do not count every hour not worked. But at the same time it is irritating how many companies have been happily referring to their oh so generous opportunities to work from home since the pandemic: If they use the terms “home office” and “compatibility” in the same sentence, they suppress the fact that no one can can think clearly while a small child next to it tries out the PC keyboard for itself. During the Corona crisis, politics left the parents to themselves. Employers have at least a share of the responsibility that this tragedy does not continue.

Of course they are not the only ones responsible. Many mothers and fathers are already involved with admirable perseverance in parents’ councils and point out the grievances in social networks. The problem: Their increasingly desperate calls for relief have so far failed to reach politicians because their influence is limited. The situation is different for employers: their lobbyists are listened to. It is therefore high time that employer representatives sat down with parents’ councils, discussed the biggest problems and brought the resulting demands loud and clear to politicians. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, hardly any company can afford that the mothers and fathers in the workforce are constantly absent at short notice or, in the worst case, become ill from being overworked.

You don’t have to be responsible for a grievance in order to help solve it. Many people would thank employers if they used their power: the educators, the parents among the employees, the children. And the employers would also do something good for themselves.

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