Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka at a press conference in Prague after the government meeting, February 22, 2023.
Prague – The government coalition will discuss possible changes to educational fees. The reason is high expenses. A decision should be made in March. Labor Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said this today at a press conference after the government meeting. A bonus of 500 crowns for a raised child is paid from this year. 19 billion crowns were expected to be spent this year. In subsequent years, the amount will be higher. Last year, the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) recommended not introducing or canceling education. He considers the measure to be non-systemic. Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS) already stated last year that education fees should be re-evaluated.
The bonus is paid to mothers or fathers for all their children. It is given to the parent who cared more. In the Czech Republic, they are mostly women. The Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ) recently stated that in January, 1.4 million women received child support for roughly three million children. The bonus is included in the merit percentage part of the pension, which reflects the years of service and the amount of contributions from earnings. Together with this part of the pension, the bonus should be valued regularly according to the current legal rules.
“We also have to clarify this situation within the coalition, if we don't make this adjustment, it will mean that educational ones will also be valued, we have to decide if we want this in the future, or if we want some other adjustment. The coalition will discuss it, no the decision has not been made yet, I assume that we will make it during March,” said Jurečka. According to him, there are several options that can be chosen.
The minister and head of the government's People's Party has so far refused to change the education fees. “In this matter, the key thing for me is that the education fee is here. I will leave how we deal with the question of valorization to negotiations with partners,” said the minister today. . According to him, ODS and TOP 09 agree with the adjustment of the bonus.
The child care allowance entered the law shortly before the parliamentary elections in 2021, and only as an amendment proposed by the deputies. Before that, the introduction of the bonus was part of the pension reform proposal of the then Minister of Labor Jana Maláčová (ČSSD). She suggested providing a maximum of 1,500 crowns, i.e. a reward for three children. However, her plan to match women's lower pensions, just like the parliamentary proposal, did not count on securing funds for payment.
According to NERV, the child bonus represents one of the largest new expenditure items of the state without ensuring adequate income. NERV recommended not to introduce or cancel education fees due to the state's indebtedness.
Women's lower pensions are to blame for their lower earnings. According to experts, the long period of parental leave is also reflected in them. NERV and other experts recommend shortening parental leave, ensuring enough crèches and nurseries, and focusing on equal pay for women and men. According to some experts, the state should motivate a higher number of children not by increasing pensions, but by better conditions for parents and their offspring.