The start of a new school year is for UNAF the opportunity to take stock of the evolution of nursery possibilities and the impact of the measures that have reduced aids to families and especially parents of young children. Despite the increase of financial resources of the Family branch for early childhood care services, the number of nursery places is disappointing. Overall, the number of childcare hours is stagnating and the use of maternal assistants falling. 31% of parents are still uncertain about accessing a place in childcare for their new-born child.
UNAF thinks that the direct link between benefits paid to families and nursery services has not been understood. Indeed, from 2013 to 2015, direct monetary benefits to families and especially to families of young children were massively reduced. A CNAF study has shown that these reforms have caused reduction in the use of childcare.
UNAF has also noted the negative impact of the reform meant to improve equality between women and men: a significant 15.9% drop in the use of parental leave benefits in families who welcomed a new child in 2015, and a decline in the number of fathers of two or more children taking parental leave. Parents of young children are compelled to make trade-offs between work and family life, and in most cases the women are penalised.
Loss of purchasing power for families, increasing difficulties for parents to reconcile work and family life, and the unprecedented and continuous decline in births are a warning that all Family branch resources must be mobilized to correct the situation and restore prospects for families.
Read more about this topic (in French) here