Saturday 25 March 2023

Daycare costs set to soar next year as new rules for baby care come into effect


The cost of regulated childcare in day care centres or creches is set to rise by some 7% because of new government rules, childcare groups say in Tuesday’s AD.

Sector umbrella group Kinderopvang says parents will have to pay hundreds of euros more a year because of changes to rules governing the care of babies.

From January 1, a baby group worker will only be allowed to look after three babies, rather than four as at present. This means creches will have to employ more staff or turn children away.

Small creches are particularly hard hit by the need to take on more staff, Kinderopvang says. It estimates a low-income family with two children who go to daycare three days a week will be €800 worse off a year because of the changes. The extra cost to the same family with an average income will be €900.

Child benefits are going enough but not enough to compensate for the rise, Kinderopvang says.

Child benefits

A spokesman for the social affairs minister said the government does not expect such a large increase. It estimates the rule change will boost costs 4.6% and says that will be covered by the rise in child benefits.

Daycare group De Kleine Wereld expects premiums to rise by 10%. ‘The ministry thinks we will cover the cost by attracting more toddlers and offering after-school care,’ director Erik Vlutters told the AD.

‘But that is not how things work. Most children start here as babies and grow into toddlers. You don’t suddenly take in toddlers. And most creches do not have facilities for after-school care,’ he said.

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