Volkswagen has said it will release employees with medical qualifications for up to 15 working days with full pay if they volunteer for work in the public health service amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The target group includes medical practitioners and paramedics of various categories as well as nursing and surgery personnel working at the German facilities of Volkswagen. In addition to people working in these areas for Volkswagen, employees with appropriate qualifications who work as paramedics on a voluntary basis, for example, will also be released if the need arises.
Volkswagen HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian said, “Employees in hospitals, surgeries and the emergency services are performing an outstanding service to society as a whole in the fight against corona. They urgently need our full support and solidarity. This also includes personnel support. For this reason, the Board of Management has decided to release our employees with medical qualifications for supporting missions in the public health service in an unbureaucratic way without any loss of income for them."
Volkswagen also heard the wishes of its employees to put their medical qualifications to use for the common good. From the point of view of Volkswagen, employees with medical training could serve in a variety of functions in accident and emergency departments and the emergency services or providing support with hotlines or the taking of samples.
Last week, the Volkswagen Group had said it will organise medical materials in China in the short term to ensure supplies for doctors and hospitals in Germany. The total value of the goods to be donated by the Group is about €40 million (around ₹329 crore).
The equipment – including face masks, gloves, disinfectants, clinical thermometers, protective goggles and protective clothing – is to be made available to medical personnel providing emergency treatment and care. Last week, Volkswagen had already donated about 200,000 FFP-2 and FFP-3 face masks for public health protection.
The German car maker had also said it was joining other manufacturers around the world to explore using 3D printing to make hospital ventilators to combat the coronavirus.
In a statement, Volkswagen said it had assembled a task force, was testing materials and checking supply chains to see how it can use 3D printing to help manufacture hospital ventilators and other life-saving equipment.
Volkswagen has extended stops to production in Germany as it deals with fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
"Volkswagen is responding especially to the fall in demand on the automobile market and the challenges faced by the supply chain," the company said.
Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess had warned that the coronavirus crisis may force the company to keep its factories shut for longer than initially planned.
“Most of our factories are closing for two weeks, in some regions for three. It is likely that these measures will last," Diess said in a Linkedin post.
Volkswagen expects the car market in Germany to recover in the summer after the auto maker was forced to suspend output due to the coronavirus pandemic.