The allowance parents receive is based on the costs of child care and the parents’ annual incomes. Child care costs refer to the costs insofar as they do not exceed the maximum compensation for the hourly rate. If the costs exceed the maximum, parent(s) have to contribute. These costs are not included in the results presented in this article. Since 2012, the child care allowance is related to the number of working hours of the parent who works the shortest hours. Also since 2012, a maximum applies with respect to the number of hours parents can claim for each child in child care. The maximum is set at 230 hours per month for all types of child care facilities together.
The Child Care Act is based on formal child care provided by parents, employers or public authorities. As from 2007, both the employer’s contribution and the government contribution are included in the child care allowance and paid by the tax authorities provided that applicant and partner are both employed, attending some form of education or participating in a (re-)integration course. Until 2013, parents who meet one of the above requirements received the employer’s contribution from the municipal authorities or the Institute for Implementation of Employees’ Insurances (UWV). Since 2013, the employer’s contribution is also included in the child care allowance and paid by the tax authorities. The parental contribution has been raised in recent years. In 2013, parents with a combined income of at least € 118,189 and one child in child care did not receive a child care allowance at all.
Figures on child care allowances are based on information provided by the tax authorities and have been updated up to and including January 2014. At that moment, nearly all allowances for the report years up to and including 2010 had been officially determined. For the years 2011 and 2012, this applied to 85 and 61 percent respectively of child care allowances. Data on the year 2013 are based solely on provisional allowances. The allowance amount parents receive depends on the costs of child care and their incomes in that particular year. Tax authorities can adjust allowances in later years, for example, on the basis of more recent information on the parents’ incomes. These adjustments are included.