It might feel like an age ago, but when nurseries and day care centres were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, parents were still asked to keep on paying their childcare bills.
In return, according to the TTKO rule – which stands in Dutch for the temporary childcare allowance scheme – parents are entitled to a refund of their own contributions, if they were normally getting childcare benefit.
For parents who did not get childcare benefits, another allowance has been available known as the TTKZO to compensate them for childcare which they paid for but which was impossible to use at the time.
You should have informed the tax and benefits office of the details of childcare that went unused during the three lockdowns, including the last one from 21 December 2021 until 9 January 2022, by the official tax deadline of 30 April 2022.
According to a parliamentary briefing in February, the government has also decided to compensate additional shortfalls that parents incurred during the first and second lockdown. However, the government ruling, designed to be easy to implement, means that some parents might receive less (and some more) than their own contribution.
This complexity, and the legacy of the childcare benefits scandal where parents were falsely accused and unfairly punished for alleged ‘fraud’, means that the government is working on a (virtually) free childcare system for all from 2025.
Working parents will receive 95%-funded childcare from 2025, and the coalition has considered making childcare mostly free for non-working parents too.
Currently, parents with a high income get far less government support for childcare. If you do decide to hire a private nanny or au pair – getting no childcare benefits at all – bear in mind that Dutch rules about employment contracts, sickness and holiday pay might apply!
For help in applying for all Dutch childcare benefits, contact Blue Umbrella