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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Act on organized childcare

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This act regulates provision of organised childcare. The innovation consists of the introduction of marketisation of childcare, a new tri-partite system of financing (employer, employee and the state contribute to the costs) and quality demands with respect to the services. The objective is to facilitate the combination of work and care and to increase the labour participation, especially of mothers.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • family
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Since 2005. Several changes have been made since 2005.
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: Structural
  • Budgets: 2.9 billion in 2009, since 2009 budget cuts have been implemented
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: in 2011 around 700,000 children used childcare
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The objective was to realise a more transparent and demand-driven system of good quality childcare compared to earlier years in which numerous regulations existed and parents had little or no choice. By introducing marketisation parents can decide which services they want to use. Apart from childcare centres parents can also make use of acknowledged ?guest parents? .The financing system is meant to distribute the responsibility for childcare among state, parents and employers. At first, contribution of employers was voluntary, but because too many employers did not contribute, their part became obligatory in 2007. The subsidy for parents is income-related, which means it has a redistribution effect on the income division in favor of low-income families with children. Since 2009 the subsidy has been reduced various times for middle and higher incomes. The subsidy is related to the number of hours which parents work (given the fact that many Dutch workers work part-time).
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • governance (Greater responsibility for employers to pay for childcare; privatisation of services)
  • services (More and more differentiated childcare services)
  • subsidies/tax-credits (Childcare subsidies)
Intended target group
All parents with children under the age of 12 who use organised childcare. The state subsidy for childcare only targets working parents or parents who participate in a trajectory towards paid work.
Working age population
  • care responsibilities (care for children [0-16/16+], for elderly or other family members) (Children under 12)
  • main source of income: paid work
  • main source of income: social protection (People on benefits can make use of subsidies, but only when they participate in a trajectory towards paid work)
Employers-private institutional actors
Responsible for paying a part of the cost of childcare services
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state (Regulation)
  • employers (organised or individual) (Responsible for financing of a part of the costs of childcare)
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial) (Childcare centres and guest-parents offer childcare)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (Health centres (GGD) are responsible for quality control of childcare centres and guest parents)
Intended output
  • governance (employers pay a part of the costs of childcare; care delivery has been privatised)
  • services (Childcare services have increased following an increase in demand for childcare since the enactment of this law. The quality of these services however is not considered to be sufficient from a pedagogic perspective)
  • subsidies/tax-credits
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
The labour participation of mothers with young children has increased by 2.5% as a result of this law. Especially higher educated mothers have started to work more.
Intended and unintended outcomes
700,000 children used childcare under this law in 2011, labour participation of mothers has increased by 2.5% as a result of this law
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Several evaluations have been carried out. They show that the act has most likely increased the labour participation of mothers with young children, in addition to an already rising participation in the past. The evaluation states that the enormous increase in use of childcare in the first years proves that it has made the combination of work and care more easy. However, because of this success and the crisis, the subsidies have been cut for middle/high incomes. The effects of this cuts on participation are not clear yet. The quality of services is not considered to be sufficient, which has led to additional control by health centres. Apparently demand-driven childcare is not an automatic guarantee for quality services.
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