Cost of childcare services to be capped in Basel
From August next year Basel-Stadt will enforce a new price cap on childcare services, authorities in the canton have confirmed. Families in Basel will soon benefit from the cheapest childcare services in Switzerland, but prices will still remain extremely high when compared to the rest of Europe.
Childcare cost cap to be enforced in Basel
In a bid to ease the rising cost of living, authorities in Basel-Stadt have lowered the price cap that is placed on childcare services in the region. Instead of 2.600 francs, providers will only be able to charge 1.600 francs per pupil for every five days of childcare offered - which will make the service the cheapest of its kind in Switzerland.
The salaries of those who work in the childcare sector in Basel will also increase as part of the plan. In all, the canton will invest an extra 36 million francs each year to compensate childcare providers, with officials hoping to enforce the new cap from August 2024.
Lawmakers hail milestone in Swiss childcare
Speaking to SRF, Social Democratic cantonal councillor Melanie Nussbaumer called the decision a “milestone”, arguing that it is a step towards equal opportunities for children and allows parents to work more regularly, easing the current shortage of workers.
In reference to the cost to taxpayers, she added that when it comes to subsidising childcare, “every franc is well invested.” She also confirmed that her party would be withdrawing its proposed cantonal referendum, which called for free daycare in Basel - something SRF said would have cost hundreds of millions of francs more.
The proposal was able to pass the cantonal parliament thanks to cooperation from a majority of political parties, although Swiss People’s Party cantonal councillor Joël Thüring said they supported the plan “through gritted teeth.” Basel-Stadt education director Conradin Cramer argued that “equality and the compatibility of family and work are neither a left-wing nor a right-wing concern. They are a social concern.”
Childcare costs in Switzerland remain the highest in Europe
Maximiliano Wepfler from the Swiss Childcare Association told SRF that while the plan isn't perfect, it is a “big step in the right direction”, adding that the canton should be praised for raising the salaries of carers. However, he questioned whether everyone would benefit from the cap as “contributions vary not only from canton to canton, but sometimes also from municipality to municipality.”
Also, despite the price cap, childcare costs in Basel will still be some of the highest in Europe. An OECD study issued back in July found that people in Switzerland spend 27 percent of their salaries on childcare, the highest proportion in Europe, in front of Ireland (21 percent) and the UK (19 percent).