The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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€46 million spent on free childcare scheme in 2023

Monday, 20 May 2024, 14:26 Last update: about 24 days ago

Some €46 million were spent on the free childcare scheme in 2023, Minister for Home Affairs, Security and Employment Byron Camilleri said Monday.

Since its launch in 2014, the scheme has been seen as crucial to addressing parental challenges, especially those faced by women in the labour market, a government statement said.

Camilleri stated that when the government provided free childcare accessible to everyone, it supported working parents, strengthened the labour market, and spurred economic growth. He continued that this anniversary celebrates empowerment, equality and progress for all families.

The free childcare scheme pushed up the employment rate of women in our country. Figures released by Jobsplus, which administers and finances the scheme, show that over 22,500 mothers have used the free childcare service. Almost 98% of these women are in employment, while the rest have followed education and training opportunities.

Malta’s commitment to empowering mothers to enter the labour market has delivered substantial results over the last decade. In 2013, when childcare was not free, four out of ten women were active in the Maltese labour market, whilst in the EU the rate was that of six out of ten women. In 2023, more than seven out of ten women were active in the Maltese labour market, whilst the rate in the EU is that of seven out of ten women.

Before childcare was free for all in 2014, 1,800 children were being cared for in 69 centres in our country. Almost 8,960 children attend for free at one of 188 childcare centres this year. Children aged between three months and three years are eligible to enter one of the childcare centres free of charge.

Jobsplus Chief Executive Leonid Mckay recalled that the free childcare scheme was recognised by the European Commission, which praised it for its effectiveness in promoting employment and flexibility between work and family. He explained that in the same way that Jobsplus has worked excellently with this scheme, which has benefited Maltese and Gozitan families in recent years, there is a commitment that it will continue to be strengthened and that the service will continue to improve in the coming years.

 

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