The Office of Birth and Childhood (ONE) has announced that it will reduce the fees required from parents using crèches or babysitters, providing they fulfil certain criteria.
From 18 May to 31 August, child-care centres in the French-speaking part of Belgium can reduce the fees charged to parents in three cases.
Reductions can be granted to parents who, due to the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, have experienced a significant drop in income, leaving them unable to pay all or part of the usual fees (economic justification).
The second category of parents who can benefit from the reduction comprises those who need to keep their children at home because they or their children are particularly at risk from the virus (health-related justification).
Finally, parents who place their children in centres close to their places of work will also benefit from the measure if forced to continue working from home or if they usually rely on their own parents to take their children to a creche (organisational justification).
The ONE would compensate the child-care centres and babysitters concerned at the rate of €16 per day and per child, up to a maximum equivalent to the amount usually paid by the parents.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early March, many parents decided to stop sending their children to creches even though the centres have never been made to close.
As a result, the Government had given parents the right to suspend the payment of the fees set under their respective child-care contracts, while compensating the centres for the lost income.
This special mechanism ends on Monday 18 May. All parents will thus have to pay the fees charged for their infants unless they qualify for reductions under one of the three justifications.