Traditionalists thwarted

Home Childcare Payment Axed

With German preschools see more money now? Source: DPA
Will German preschools see more money now?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany offers generous child-care allowances and working conditions to tackle its shrinking population. But the cultural impact of such policies is often ignored, inflaming tensions.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The monthly €150 ($164) payment to parents who cared for preschoolers at home was popular in conservative Bavaria, but not elsewhere.
    • It was offered instead of state-subsidized preschool, but was labeled as bad for women workers and immigrant integration.
    • Germany already pays €188 per month per child as well as offering maternity and paternity pay up to €1,800 a month.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Horst Seehofer, the conservative premier of the German state of Bavaria, said it was about “having a heart for families and children.” But Germany’s highest court wasn’t impressed.

Judges on Tuesday ruled that a controversial monthly payment made to German parents who care for preschool children at home, called “Betreuungsgeld,” was unconstitutional. Such entitlements were not in the federal government’s gift, they argued.

Mr. Seehofer, who leads the Christian Social Union party, the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, had pushed the unpopular €150 ($164) subsidy through the ruling right-left coalition in 2013. He argued that it was about giving parents more childcare choices.

But the payment faced fierce resistance with opponents saying it amounted to a “stove premium,” encouraging women to stay at home and damaging the integration of immigrant children. Family Minister Manuela Schwesig from the center-left Social Democrats simply called it the “wrong way” to help German parents.

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