'Investing in daycare will help more women enter the workforce'

Haredi MK pushes government to open new subsidized daycare centers in bid to bring more women into the workforce.

Ben Shaul,

MK Uri Maklev
MK Uri Maklev

The Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women on Tuesday discussed a lack of funds for building new daycare centers.

During the discussion, MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) argued that after years of not using funds allocated for daycare subsidies the government must 'carry over' money not used for daycare in previous years and expand the current budget for daycare subsidies.

"Today we're already starting to see a change, but it's a process that takes a lot of time, and we need a solution to the problem immediately," he said.

According to Maklev, building new daycare centers is "not a waste of State money."

"It's an investment," he said. "These daycare centers will make it easier for women to leave home and find work, and that will reduce [economic] gaps, and will improve Israel's economy. Not building daycare centers in Israel causes harm to the public and to the State."

Government-subsidized daycare centers are available for babies and toddlers ages 3 months to 3 years.

Maklev also complained that the existing budget is relatively small, and not enough to open the hundreds of new daycare centers needed to meet demand.

"There are hundreds of daycare administrators who have done the required courses and are qualified, but we don't let them open daycare centers for some reason or other," he said.

"These women are not entrepreneurs, and they are not employees. They have no standing at all and we need to fix that. We've already seen cases in which daycare administrators had to stop working because of a family tragedy, but found themselves in a quandary because they had no one to replace them."

Slamming the Finance Ministry, which handles subsidies and discounts for low-earning families, Maklev said, "The call center is unfriendly and completely isolated, and anyone who wants to receive a subsidy goes through an awful time. We need to close this center, which only creates difficulties, and hand the responsibility back to the Ministry."