Changes starting for child care benefits

Fathers newly can get seven days of leave, benefits can be used faster

Changes for families with children will take effect in 2018 in the Czech Republic. Child tax deductions have increased, and more people are eligible for childcare allowances for families.

Parental allowances can be redeemed more quickly, and as of February, new fathers will be able to take seven days off.

All new fathers will be eligible for seven days off that they can choose within six weeks of their baby's birth. During their absence at work, fathers will receive 70 percent of their income. The money will come from sickness insurance, as is the case with maternity leave.

The new rules were approved by the past government of Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD), as part of an effort to get fathers to be more involved in childcare. The move is also expected to help mothers make a faster return to the workforce since the father will be taking a more active role in raising the child.

The measure is estimated to cost up to Kč 800 million per year.

The quicker return of mothers to work is also supportive of another change that that began at the start of January. It is now possible to exhaust the parental allowance of Kč 220,000 in six months and not in a minimum of two years as before.

The previous government favored a place in a nursery for children from 2 years of age and higher. It has also supported the expansion of children's groups and micro-nurseries where parents can get daycare, enabling the parents to return to work.

Families will also get a higher child tax allowance. There is also a growing range of families that can use child allowances.

From June, it will also be possible to apply to be able to help with the long-term care of sick relatives. This will also be supported by sickness insurance. Employees will be able to draw 60 percent of their wages for a maximum of 90 days.

The new government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), who took office Dec. 7, 2017, is likely to re-examine the benefits system and make changes. His government statement says that the obligations of those receiving benefits will be examined and the government will seek to “reduce and eliminate the gradual dependence on benefits."

Discount for a child
For last year's income, the tax deduction for the second child is increased by Kč 200 and for each additional child by Kč 300. Income for 2018 will also increase the discount for the first child to Kč 15,204 per year.

Allowances

The benefits will reach a wider range of families. Until now, families with incomes up to 2.4 times the subsistence level have been able to receive benefits. This will rise to 2.7 times the subsistence level. If at least one of the parent's works, the allowance will increase by Kč 300 per month.

Parental grant
A total of Kč 220,000 can be depleted faster as of January, in as little as six months. For parents of multiple children, the amount is Kč 330,000.

Fathers
Fathers can get seven days of parental leave as of February, and be able to use it within six weeks of the baby‘s birth.

Nursing leave
From June, employees will be able to take up to 90 days of leave to care for their sick relatives.

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