Government approves amendment guaranteeing daycare for children

From 2026, three-year-olds will have a legal right to a place in a kindergarten or children's group, else the government will pay parents compensation.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.05.2024 10:00:00 (updated on 24.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The government has approved an amendment that guarantees places in children's groups (dětská skupina) while also allowing for such groups to be established in households, reports Czech Television.

From 2026, municipalities must ensure that three-year-olds not accepted by their catchment kindergarten have a place in a children’s group. Otherwise, they must contribute to the cost of care for their parents.

A guaranteed place or cash in return

"There will be an obligation to provide children over the age of three with a place in a children's group. If this is not possible in a kindergarten or a children's group run by an external entity, non-profit organization, company or in a neighboring municipality, the municipality will provide compensation to the parents," said Labor Minister Marian Jurečka.

According to Jurečka, three-year-old children in the Czech Republic are entitled to a kindergarten place. Still, they often only gain admission at the beginning of the school year in September.

what are children's groups?

Similar to daycare, children's groups provide regular childcare for children aged one year and above until they start compulsory schooling. Each group can have up to 24 children, with smaller groups accommodating up to 12. The law mandates two or more carers based on group size, requiring professional qualifications in education, social work, or medicine. Open on all working days for at least six hours, these non-profit facilities operate based on an education and care plan, making them more accessible and less demanding to establish than kindergartens. Read more about other forms of childcare available in Czechia here (in Czech).

Under the proposed amendment, municipalities would be required to secure a place in a children's group for three-year-olds until they are admitted to nursery school. If a place cannot be secured, the municipality would provide compensation to parents, equivalent to the maximum child care benefit, currently CZK 5,090.

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

The amendment allows neighborhood groups to operate in households with a maximum of four children. Regional labor offices will assess space and operation requirements, while the Ministry of Labor grants service authorization. It also removes the cap on facility hours when parents are not on parental leave. Corporate groups can accept non-employee children.

"The measures aim to remove barriers preventing parents from returning to work," said Jurečka. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will discuss the amendment, so the final form may still change. After that, the president must sign it.

Some concerns raised

Opposition ANO party welcomed the amendment but raised concerns about maintaining hygiene standards in neighborhood groups, emphasizing the state's responsibility for children's safety.

The Union of Towns and Municipalities criticized the lack of funding assurances, warning that municipalities would struggle with operating costs if children's groups were built but not utilized.

About 1,730 groups with 23,300 places currently operate, a number that is increasing. The state allocated CZK 1.17 billion for operations last year, potentially CZK 2.45 billion this year and CZK 3.3 billion in 2026, though the budget should gain from taxes and levies on working parents.

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