Report: One-third of daycare subsidies goes to kollel families

Daycare subsidies no longer serving original purpose of encouraging women to work in addition to their husbands, report says.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

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One-third of daycare subsidies granted by the State of Israel goes to families where the father is learning in kollel (yeshiva for married men), Calcalist reported.

These families receive a total of 390 million NIS ($112,366,024) in daycare subsidies, out of a 1.2 billion NIS ($345,741,612) total.

According to Calcalist, 25% of families with children in subsidized daycares have a father in kollel, while just 2% have fathers who are leanring a profession or studying in college. A full 80% of kollel families receive the maximum subsidy (1,300 NIS per month) and pay just 700 NIS per child per month in daycare fees.

Calcalist based its report off the Israel Democracy Institute's Yearbook of the Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel statistic that haredim constitute 11% of the parent-age population. According to their calculation, if two-thirds of haredim learn in kollel, that would still mean just 7% of young families nationwide have a father in kollel.

The Yearbook pointed out that haredi children make up 27% of daycare-aged children in Israel, and Calcalist noted that if two-thirds of haredi children have fathers in kollel, that would put their numbers at 18% of families with daycare-aged children nationwide. However, the site pointed out, 33% of the subsidies go to these families, which generally have more children than their secular counterparts.

The daycare subsidy was originally intended to encourage women to join and re-enter the workforce. However, it has since been turned into a government handout for all families with daycare-aged children, regardless of the parents' genders, so that homosexual fathers can request the subsidy as well. However, according to Calcalist, the fact that the subsidy is calculated by income means that working fathers may cause the family to deem the father's working a financial risk, since it can lead to a loss of up to 1,300 NIS per month per child in subsidies.

In order to receive the subsidy, the mother (or, for homosexual couples, the parental figure who works less hours) must work at least 24 hours each week, while the father (or other parental figure) can be studying, learning a trade, learning in yeshiva, or working.

The amount of money parents pay in daycare tuition is then calculated by dividing the family's total income by the number of people in the family. Higher "income per person" leads to a smaller or nonexistent subsidy, while lower "income per person" leads to a higher subsidy and lower out-of-pocket payments. Full daycare tuition is 2,000 NIS per month, and the maximum subsidy is 1,300 NIS.




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