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Childcare allowance in 2012. What are the changes?

In 2012 the rules concerning the childcare allowance have changed. The new rules have consequences for you as a parent. What the government wants to change and what this means for you is described below. The information comes from an information sheet which was published by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in November 2011. This article was first published in our knowledge base on 22 December 2011.

Why are the rules changed in 2012?

The changes concern the costs and the conditions for the childcare allowance. Concerning the childcare it is the intention that government, parents and employers together contribute to the costs of childcare. In the course of time the government went on paying the biggest share of the costs. The number of children in childcare more than doubled and the expenses of the government related to childcare allowance even tripled. The government has to cut down the costs and will therefore contribute less to the costs of childcare. They tighten the rules regarding the childcare allowance and will monitor this more severely.

A lot changed in 2012. First we will explain what happens with the amount of childcare allowance you will receive. Then we discuss the hours for which you can get childcare allowance. And finally we explain you what you need to do to qualify for the childcare allowance 2012.

Childcare allowance

The childcare allowance is reduced for everybody. That means you will get back less from the government. How much more you will pay depends on your income and the income of your partner. The childcare allowance for the second and following child will be reduced fast for the highest incomes. The allowance for these children will be reduced from 82% to 58%. To give you an idea what this means for you we give you an example of the extra amount it will cost you per month if two children of 0 and 4 years old are using childcare on two days per week.

Gross income per year

2012

€ 19,000

+ € 22 per month

€ 35,000

+ € 37 per month

€ 70,000

+ € 82 per month

€ 85,000

+ € 103 per month

Which hours qualify for the childcare allowance?

The most important change in 2012 is the restriction of the number of hours for which you can get a childcare allowance. Until 2011 the tax authorities calculated the childcare allowance based on the income of both parents and the number of childcare hours. How many hours parents worked was not taken into consideration.

This changed from January 1, 2012. From that date it is also relevant how many hours parents work in a year. You can only get childcare allowance for the hours on which the parent with the lowest number of hours is working. If this parent for example works 20 hours per week, these 20 hours are the basis for the childcare allowance.

In case of daycare for children who don’t go to school you are entitled to an allowance of 140% of the hours of the partner with the smallest job (least number of hours worked). If children go to school parents can declare 70% of the hours. These children will use the childcare less because they are going to school.

The connection with the hours worked is also applicable if you are self employed or have a flexible contract. If you are the partner who is working the lowest number of hours you will have to make a good estimate of the number of hours you expect to work in a year. You must be able to prove that you really worked this number of hours.

It is important that the tax authorities always have your up to date information and also that you inform them timely if something changes. If you don’t do this and during an audit it turns out that you have received childcare allowance for too many hours you can get a fine.

The maximum number of hours per month for which you can get childcare allowance also changed. In 2011 you could for example receive childcare allowance for 230 hours after school care and 230 hours guest parent care for a child. In 2012 you can receive childcare allowance for maximum 230 hours per month for all sorts of care together for a child. Condition is though that the hours the partner with the smallest job is working gives entitlement to the maximum number of hours.

Maximum hourly rate

The maximum hourly rate on which the childcare allowance will be calculated, did not change in 2012 and therefore remained € 6.36 for daycare; € 5.93 after school care and € 5.09 for guest parent care.

What is also new?

  • Applications for childcare allowance can only be backdated for a short period. This is only possible for the current month and the previous month.
  • If you become unemployed you can keep the childcare allowance for a period of 3 months based on the number of hours childcare in the month before the month in which you became unemployed. If you are still unemployed after 3 months you will have to stop the allowance.
  • With guest parenthood the parents must pay the guest parent bureau within two months. The guest parent bureau must pay the guest parent within 5 days after receipt of the money.
  • Your childcare organisation or guest parent bureau must inform you in writing about specific hours for which you can’t get childcare allowance. This concerns the care between school time, day nursery (cr
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