Hands in the hair about expensive childcare: ‘Is it still worth working?’

Childcare rates will rise significantly next year, according to research by RTL Nieuws. Lower- and middle-income parents in particular will feel this in their wallets. The personal contribution will increase by 10 to 40 percent in the coming year, while the part you receive care allowance for will hardly increase.

“Now the misery is complete,” Desiree thought as she read the news. “It sounds very sad, and it is. I’m very frustrated about it. I constantly feel like I’m being punished for working.”

The 33-year-old single mother from Breda works 24 hours a week in catering at a nursing home. Her son Ryan (9) goes to secondary school (BSO) and her daughter Evi (1) in childcare, both two days a week.

She must pay attention. There is a short shower, she refuels no more than once a month, the stove is not yet lit and when shopping she pays as much attention to the offers as possible.

“I work with a lot of love and pleasure, and I want to make my own money. But it is becoming increasingly difficult for me from the government. People are now seriously faced with choices.”

Stop or work less

Her choice: stop working or work less. “Because if I work less or don’t work, I get more allowance.” It runs through her mind, but she’d rather not: “At work, I’m just Desiree, instead of just a mom.”

With Desiree, there are many other parents who are concerned. So is Denise (31). She has three small children and runs an IT company in South Holland with her husband.

“We’re actually doing really well,” she will emphasize. But still: “Next year we will pay – without deduction of unemployment benefits – 1971 euros per month. That is almost half of my salary. Then I actually work so that the children can go to day care. Then I might as well stay at home .”

It is no different for Franciska from Dordrecht. She has two children in school and her youngest son, aged 1, goes to daycare. She works in psychiatry for three days.

“The childcare is going to cost more than our gross mortgage next year. That’s why we are considering removing our 9-year-old daughter from school. In fact, we’d rather not do that yet, because then she’ll be home alone for a while. But it makes a difference . in the costs.”

Hourly childcare prices are rising. This is what you will pay on average next year per type of childcare:

But wouldn’t childcare be free for working parents? That’s right, says political reporter for RTL Nieuws Roel Schreinemachers. “But it will take a few more years. Making care free is a huge operation. The government aims for 2025. Until then, we have the old system, where it depends on their income, to what extent parents get reimbursement.”

In the video below, Schreinemachers explains what the cabinet plans for free childcare look like:

Collective party D66 made a case for free childcare. Member of Parliament Fonda Sahla is therefore concerned about the price increase. Especially because of what it means for vulnerable children and women’s labor market participation.

“We know that because of higher prices, vulnerable children stay home faster,” Sahla told RTL Nieuws. “This often means that the mother stays at home to take care of the children. And we would like more people to work to tackle the staff shortage.”

Maximum hourly rate

According to Schreinemacher, the chance that the government will now come up with compensation for the high care fees is small. “The discussion about the high hourly rate comes up again every year,” he says.

“The solution could be a maximum hourly rate, but that has never happened until now. And it has not yet resulted in large groups of parents no longer taking their children into care.”

Responsibility among entrepreneurs

Many parents look to the government anyway. But Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Karien van Gennip (CDA) places the responsibility mainly on entrepreneurs in the childcare sector.

“We have to bring this together,” Van Gennip told RTL Nieuws. “Most entrepreneurs are very profitable. I think we can have a serious conversation about where the profits in the shelter sector go.”

Desiree, Denise and Franciska have little use for that message for the time being. As Franciska puts it: “Your quality of life deteriorates.”

How much more will I pay?

Jeroen Pernot from net Contribution.nl makes calculation tools for childcare organizations that parents can use to calculate their net contribution. Pernot calculated the new costs for a number of different households for RTL Nieuws.

Hourly rate

When calculating the childcare benefit in 2022, the government will assume an hourly wage of no more than 8.50 for childcare. Everything that a care costs beyond that is at the expense of the parents. The hourly rate to be reimbursed will be 8.97 in 2023.

Childcare rates can go up to 12.50 euros. A third of parents are in the most expensive class of 10 to 12.50 euros (32.9 percent). In addition, another large proportion of parents (34.5 percent) pay between 9.50 and 10 euros.

Only 14 percent of parents are actually on the additional rate set by the government, for that group the price increase will be around 5 percent.


(Based on two days of care for two children over 52 weeks)

  • Parents with an income of up to 25,000 euros per year who have paid 8.50 euros per hour for childcare in 2022 will see a price increase of around 820 euros with a new hourly price of, for example, 9.31 euros.
  • Parents with an income of up to 50,000 euros per year, who in 2022 paid 9.65 euros per hour for childcare, will see a price increase of around 986 euros with a new hourly price of, for example, 10.50 euros.
  • Parents with an income of up to 80,000 euros per year, who in 2022 paid 10.08 euros per hour for childcare, will see a price increase of around 1,940 euros with a new hourly price of, for example, 11.30 euros.

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