Parents complain about childcare costs
8 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — New Dutch childcare laws have made matters worse for parents, trade union confederation FNV said, pointing out it has been inundated with complaints since the new regulation came into force at the start of this year.
8 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — New Dutch childcare laws have made matters worse for parents, trade union confederation FNV said, pointing out it has been inundated with complaints since the new regulation came into force at the start of this year.
The new system has led to a stream of complaints about the extra paperwork required and the fact that employers have reduced their childcare contributions to staff, newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported on Tuesday.
At least 60 percent of complaints lodged with the childcare problem reporting office — set up by the FNV, green-left GroenLinks and Labour PvdA — relate to the higher cost of childcare. High income earners are primarily being forced to pay more for childcare
The new system states that employers may only pay a maximum of one-sixth of a worker's childcare costs. It is not compulsory for companies to pay a childcare contribution.
The system is designed so that in the case of two-income families, for example, employers can pay one-third of the childcare costs. The Dutch government and parents pay the final two-thirds. The division of costs is income-based.
But FNV chief Agnes Jongerius said employers previously paid more than one-sixth of an employee' childcare costs if their partner did not have a childcare arrangement with his or her company. She also said the tax office is not always filling the gap.
The FNV is now demanding that childcare be deemed a public service, such as education. It said childcare should be regulated the same as schooling is, which is largely paid for by the government.
And under the leadership of Jongerius — who has been the first female leader of the FNV since replacing Lodewijk de Waal as leader in May — the trade union is launching a large-scale campaign against the new childcare regulation.
"The new regulation is complicated and the quality of care is often leaves a lot to be desired. Where is the reimbursement?"
The FNV is demanding that child care centres come under the responsibility of the government. And akin to the school fees system, it says parents should not be forced to pay anything more than an arbitrary contribution for childcare costs.
Jongerius said the present childcare law is disastrous for the workforce participation rate of women. "The costs have risen so much that parents, primarily women, have told us that working no longer pays," she said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news