A run on extra funding for crèches is poised to leave federal coffers short in the coming years. As a result, the government has changed who will be eligible.
At the current pace of applications, the government’s stimulus package will run out long before its end date of January 31, 2019.
The government initiated a CHF440 million incentive programme in 2003 to stem the shortage of crèche facilities. The injection boosted the number of childcare places by more than 15,000 over ten years, adding to the around 50,000 places that already existed.
Around CHF120 million ($119 million) was set aside for the 2015-2019 period, but only CHF42 million is left, the interior ministry announced on Thursdayexternal link. That will not be enough to meet demand.
Currently, requests for support are treated on a first-come, first-served basis. As of February 1, cantons that have requested the least amount of funding will have priority and be allotted 80% of the pot.
The remaining 20% will be available for cantons that have received a disproportionate amount of grants: Zurich, Zug, Basel City, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Geneva. The goal is to distribute the money equally across the country.
When the government pledged its support, many people versed in child minding took the opportunity to set up a crèche. Day care centres like the Kita Matahari in a wealthy residential area in Bern are among those that have benefitted.
Switzerland has the most expensive crèches in the world, according to a 2014 study.