Parliament approves daycare limits

On a busy day of votes in parliament, MPs have approved new limits on children’s rights to early years education. In future children with one parent who is not working or studying full-time will be restricted to 20 hours per week of kindergarten.

Image: Henrietta Lehtinen / Yle

Lawmakers approved a government bill on early years education on Tuesday, introducing limits on the right to daycare. In future children will only be allowed 20 hours per week at nursery if one parent is not working or studying full-time.

The bill was supported by 114 MPs and opposed by 65, with one abstention and 19 absences from the chamber during the vote.

It is to take effect next August.

The proposal has been controversial, with several municipal authorities voting against implementing the measure even before it was passed into law. It has been criticized by experts including the economist Sixten Korkman as a false economy, given the return on investment in early years education.

The government has justified the measure as an important saving in the state budget.

MPs also rubber-stamped measures to restrict the right to sabbatical leaves and changes to pensioners’ housing benefit.