Make childcare cheaper so that all toddlers can attend at least twice a week, Council says
All children up to the age of four should be able to attend daycare at least two days a week, even if they have a stay at home parent. To achieve this, childcare must be made more affordable, the social and economic council SER, the government's main advisory body on the economy, said in a report, RTL Nieuws reports.
At present, parents are only entitled to childcare allowance if both parents are working. The SER wants to drop that requirement, so that kids with a stay at home parent can also go to daycare. "If we really want to change the way the labor market works, we will have to make childcare more inclusive, more accessible, simpler, and more affordable," Bas ter Weel of the SER said to the broadcaster.
The SER did not advise the government to make childcare free. But the government should make a "financially accessible offer" - reimburse a large part of the childcare costs, the council said.
The SER believes that if childcare is more accessible to more families, more parents may decide to return to work. To ensure that a parent's decision on whether or not to work is not dependent on childcare, the SER advised the government to eventually make two days a week of childcare possible for all children up to the age of 13.
The council also advised that out-of-school care should be more closely aligned with school hours, to make the transition from school to care simpler. Having schools close at the same time every day can already help with that, the SER said.