twitter   facebook   facebook
← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Childcare vouchers

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
Childcare vouchers (in force since 1st of April 2009) give right to place a child in a daily child care center of the family?s choice. With these vouchers, the system has shifted from an object-financing (the childcare facilities) to a subject-financing (the families). The vouchers were first implemented in the city of Lucerne as a pilot project. The system was introduced thanks to a federal contribution as part of the federal law on children daycare facilities introduced in 2003. / Eligibility criteria: families are entitled to a childcare voucher if they live in the city of Lucerne; have children in pre-school age (at least three months old); dispose of a confirmed place in a daycare facility recognized by the pilot project (in the city of Luzern or its agglomeration); the paid workload amounts at least to 20% for single parents and 120% for couples; the annual taxable income of the household amount less than 100?000 CHF ? 8227,10 Euros (124?000 CHF ? 102?015,63 Euros - for children under 18 months).
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • family
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Pilot project: 1st of April 2009 ? 31st of December 2012. (Due to the success of the pilot project the system has been introduced permanently starting from 1st of January 2013).
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: temporary
  • [?budgets]
  • Budgets: [budgets]
  • [/budgets]
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: unknown
  • Spatial coverage: local (city level)
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The main objective is to allow better reconciliation of work and family, avoiding their exit of the labour market and dependence on social assistance. Shifting the financing from daycare facilities to families, public authorities also wished to see an impact in terms of quality, prices and quantity of the offer, as a result of concurrence, as with the vouchers parents are able to choose the facility in which they would like to place their children, instead of placing them were they get a place.
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
Type of innovation
  • new form of policy implementation/delivery
New outputs
  • subsidies/tax-credits (direct subsidies)
Clarification of intended mechanisms, outputs and outcomes (optional)
Financing directly the families it has been possible to better control for those who benefit from the system (through the eligibility criteria defining a maximal household salary) and if necessary decide whether to channel the resources towards the lower income families only, or the middle incomes as well. /
Intended target group
working families
Working age population
  • care responsibilities (care for children [0-16/16+], for elderly or other family members) (families with care responsibilities (children))
  • employment situation (working families)
  • main source of income: paid work
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body
  • municipal government
Intended output
  • subsidies/tax-credits (direct subsidies)
Intended and unintended outcomes
): in 2010 and 2011 61% of all children of the city of Lucerne who were in childcare facilities benefitted of a voucher.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
As many who benefitted from the vouchers were low income families (50% under 50?000CHF ? 41?135,36 Euros - annual taxable household income, of which 25% under 30?000 CHF- 24?681,20 Euros) it is likely to believe that a big share of the families who benefitted were low-skilled. / Moreover, through the vouchers many families, in particular low-income families, were able to reconcile work and family, staying in employment instead of giving up the job in order to look after the children, relying on social assistance.
Share this page: