Childcare 2024: higher costs, higher allowance

Do you have children in daycare, after-school care or have a guest parent looking after the children daily? If so, you will probably make a net gain due to the extra increase in childcare allowance. The rates of care organizations increase but are compensated by the government with an additional increase in the allowance. This can save up to a thousand euros a year.

Parents are left with more than last year, but on balance, they still have to contribute themselves. However, this contribution is dropping due to additional government intervention. Per hour, before you get your refund, next year you will pay an average of 8.4 percent more for daycare, an average of 7.7 percent more for out-of-school or after-school care (bso/nso), an average of 9 percent more for preschool care and guest parent care an average of 7.7 percent more.

Pay rise

The main reason for the price increase is the wage increase for childcare staff. From January, wages will go up by 2 percent and again by 2 percent in April 2024. In this way, the government hopes to retain current staff, attract new staff, and encourage current employees to work more hours. In addition to the wage increase, inflation (compensation for this) and high energy prices are driving up childcare rates. 

Childcare providers are allowed to set their hourly rates. The government contributes part of the cost of childcare up to a maximum amount per hour, in the form of a childcare allowance. This is determined each spring. In return for the price that childcare charges per hour, there is also a fee. That provisional fee was set last June but is going up. How much childcare allowance you are entitled to depends on your income, the number of children, and the type of care. The government reimburses a maximum of 230 hours per child, per month. 

To realize the additional increase, Minister Van Gennip (Social Affairs and Employment) is working on an urgent amendment to the Child Care Supplement Decree. This will bring the childcare allowance (the maximum hourly rate) more in line with the rates parents have to pay for childcare. An increase of 6 percent was initially set, but an additional 2.9 percent has now been added.

Increased advances in December

The Benefits Department of the Ministry of Finance will pay parents higher advances based on the new maximum hourly rates as early as the end of December 2023. This will be done before the Emergency Decree is finalized, to prevent parents from receiving a one-time deviating higher amount of childcare benefit retroactively in the middle of 2024.