WHEB are pleased to join with 94 other investors with $3.34 trillion assets under management to voice our support for higher standards across the nursing home sector as a signatory on the Investor Statement of Expectations for the Nursing Home Sector, coordinated by UNI Global Union.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated and exacerbated many long-standing issues in the nursing home sector. As vaccines are rolled out across the world, there is the promise of relief from the impact of the pandemic in the months ahead. However, as it continues to unfold, there is still an urgent need to improve working standards across the sector to minimise illness and death. Even more importantly, as the sector recovers and we reflect upon the damage to our societies and the loss of human life during the pandemic, we must seize this moment to ensure the industry changes for the better and develops a more socially and financially sustainable model.
Such a shift requires all actors to play a role. Governments and regulators must ensure that regulatory environments and funding provisions enable nursing homes to meet the necessary standards. Companies must take substantive steps to raise standards.
We as investors should set clear expectations for companies in the sector. Thus, we have joined with other investors to issue this statement, outlining the needs for higher standards on the core issues of understaffing, health and safety, wages and contracts, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and quality of care.
While we acknowledge that some of these expectations might currently be out of reach for some nursing homes operators and others are making significant efforts to address them, we expect companies to embrace them, including through an open dialogue with shareholders, regulators trade unions, advocates and other key stakeholders. Doing so would improve the confidence of investors, regulators, workers, residents and their families in the industry in this period of grave concern and beyond.
In turn, we will work collaboratively with these key parties to work towards making these expectations a reality, and invite others to join us in this effort.