FNV union fears effect of childcare cuts

23rd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Proposed cuts in childcare provision in the Netherlands will have enormous consequences for participation in the labour force. That's the warning coming from the FNV federation of unions, based on the results of a survey carried out among 1,000 parents with young children.

In short, the research shows if parents have to pay more for childcare, they will look for alternatives. Foir example, it shows that four out of ten parents are considering working less, while 15 percent are contemplating stopping altogether. Mothers in particular are thinking about working less. Six out of ten parents are considering reducing the number of hours their children spend at creches or kindergartens and asking family or friends to help out.

Parents also fear that cuts will affect the quality of childcare in crèches and after-school care. They consider quality, safety and the presence of sufficient staff as the most important factors in childcare. At the moment, they say they are generally satisfied with the facilities.

Seventy percent of parents are already paying more this year for childcare, although this has not yet led to any reduction in their use of these facilities. But 60 percent say they will cut the number of hours they make use of them if prices rise again. The FNV is concerned that increased competition will lead to cuts in staffing levels as parents look for cheaper or the cheapest alternatives.

The results of the FNV survey have been given to MPs ahead of today's childcare debate in parliament. The Lower House will also discuss recommendations made by the Gunning Committee after the Amsterdam paedophile case, in which a male crèche worker abused more than 80 children. The recommendations include a proposal whereby at least two members of staff would be assigned to each individual group of infants, an idea that's already been welcomed by parents and politicians alike.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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