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 Post subject: Germany guarantees public daycare slots to all children
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:59 am 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Location: Hamburg, Germany
http://www.spiegel.de/international/ger ... 14320.html

The law went into effect yesterday. I haven't heard yet how well it is applied in Hamburg, but pretty much all the parents I have met here have complained about how hard (and expensive) it is to find daycare options, public or private.


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 Post subject: Re: Germany guarantees public daycare slots to all children
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:18 pm 
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That is so great! I know Mihl mentioned that at some point. I had no idea it was so hard to find daycare in Germany!

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 Post subject: Re: Germany guarantees public daycare slots to all children
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:46 am 
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Not NOT A Furry
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Well, I'm afraid that this will not work out at all. It is one of those issues where there is politically motivated will (demographic change, make voters happy etc.) but no one in politics actually bothered to do something effective.

So, they made this promise without really providing the funds or means to actually create those daycare slots. All the while pretending that everything is just fine.
Not to mention the reward they have introduced to parents who decide to take care of their children at home instead of sending them to day care (this has caused some stir up this year because it is quite clearly an incentive for mothers to stay at home and will be most attractive to those who are unemployed anyway - and will give them another reason to not start looking for a job. Thus contributing even more to cementing the structures of an increasing number of people who have never worked in their life).

And one can figure that a large number of parents will not do anything against this farce because they'd have to sue to get that daycare slot and who these days has the time, energy and means to do just that?


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 Post subject: Re: Germany guarantees public daycare slots to all children
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:11 am 
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Built this city on rock and roll
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Lily wrote:
Well, I'm afraid that this will not work out at all. It is one of those issues where there is politically motivated will (demographic change, make voters happy etc.) but no one in politics actually bothered to do something effective.


It is hard to say. It really depends on where you are. We had a very hard time finding something and in the end we found a tagesmutter at the other side of town. But some of my co-workers were able to choose between public daycare, private, and a tagesmutter. I live in a neighbourhood which has the highest birth rate in Germany, so I guess our problems weren't that surprising.

Lily wrote:
So, they made this promise without really providing the funds or means to actually create those daycare slots. All the while pretending that everything is just fine.
Not to mention the reward they have introduced to parents who decide to take care of their children at home instead of sending them to day care (this has caused some stir up this year because it is quite clearly an incentive for mothers to stay at home and will be most attractive to those who are unemployed anyway - and will give them another reason to not start looking for a job. Thus contributing even more to cementing the structures of an increasing number of people who have never worked in their life).


In my town new daycares pop up all over the place. It is not enough, that is true. But I can see their effort. I am fortunate to live in an Eastern German town where the situation is not so bad, compared to places like Cologne or North-Rhine Westphalia in general. (Or Munich, as mentioned in the article.)

And I am not so sure about the unemployment thing - that assumes that every mother who is currently unemployed doesn't want to work in their future and it perpetuates the myth of unemployed people being lazy. I know several single women who are unemployed because they are single moms. As you probably know, it is very hard for single moms in Germany. They get zero support and hardly have the chance to work full time. Many of them need the support of their families to work, because they cannot find daycare. (I know the law changes this, but here in Saxony you wouldn't get daycare if you were unemployed. We always had to hand in forms signed by our employers.) If it was me, I'd rather take a job and daycare than those lousy 150 euros each month.

I agree with you that the whole "reward" thing is ridiculous, for so many reasons. Example: If we look at the situation right now, it is a taboo to send your kids to daycare when they are under the age of one. Daycare for these young children is almost nonexistent. The state cannot and won't provide much daycare for these kids. So they give you a paid parental leave and job security instead. That could be seen as a "reward" as well. But most parents don't really have a choice. Someone has to stay home with the kid because it can be very hard to find daycare for a six month old kid. But staying at home with a six month old is seen as perfectly normal, whereas if you want to stay home with your three year old, most people look at you weird. That seems very strange to me.

I think paying parents money to look after their kids is a good idea. It's a job, too. The thing is, in my opinion, that our government wants us to believe that we have a choice when we really don't have one. Some parents would love to stay at home, but they need the income. For me it was clear I didn't want to be a stay at home mom and I am very glad for daycare. (and I think my daughter is, too.) Those 150€ won't really give you a choice and therefore it's ridiculous and insulting.

Lily wrote:
And one can figure that a large number of parents will not do anything against this farce because they'd have to sue to get that daycare slot and who these days has the time, energy and means to do just that?


It probably depends on your situation. If you have been looking for daycare for two years, your paid maternity leave ran out and everyone always told you that it's not their fault and their responsibility that they couldn't provide a place for your kid, then sueing suddenly doesn't sound like such a bad idea anymore.

Anyway, in one year our daughter is changing from the current daycare/nursery/tagesmutter to a kindergarten like most three year olds in Germany. Our city just started switching to a system that includes every provider, even the private ones, who have to tell the city administration about the number of their places, etc. They want to make it easier for parents to find a spot for their kids and not make them run about town for months. But right now it's chaotic as hell. Nobody knows what they are doing and private providers try to ignore the new system. I am pretty sure we won't find anything in our area again because kindergartens and daycares always take siblings first.(Which is understandable.) And those siblings take up pretty much all the places.

I still think that in theory this new law is awesome. (Western)Germany has a long tradition of bashing daycare and guilting mothers into staying at home. This law might change this point of view for some people.


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 Post subject: Re: Germany guarantees public daycare slots to all children
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:22 am 
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Thank you both for your opinions! I appreciate it. I have a hard time getting the big picture of the situation in Germany, both because I work with / am around so few women, and because the ones I do know are in relatively privileged positions so their situations aren't representative.

I think in Hamburg part of the reason for the lack of daycares is real estate. There is a lack of available space, the ones that are available have to charge very high fees (compared to the neighboring Läander anyway) to make rent, and since we're a city-state these services cannot expand out of town.

I do think the law is a good development (although for sure it remains to be seen how empowered the communities will be to turn it into a reality). In general, I find the laws surrounding family rights quite good in Germany, but I see a striking difference with what's on paper and what happens in real life. I think it's all the more striking for me this year as 3 of the 4 (male) department leaders I report to had a kid in the past year and all took their 3-4 months of paternity leave. In the mean time, there are no department leaders who are mothers. Most of the women I work with are young and childless, in general. Where do they go once they turn 30?


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 Post subject: Re: Germany guarantees public daycare slots to all children
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:52 am 
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aelle wrote:
In general, I find the laws surrounding family rights quite good in Germany, but I see a striking difference with what's on paper and what happens in real life. I think it's all the more striking for me this year as 3 of the 4 (male) department leaders I report to had a kid in the past year and all took their 3-4 months of paternity leave. In the mean time, there are no department leaders who are mothers. Most of the women I work with are young and childless, in general. Where do they go once they turn 30?


This is so true! They only have to take 2 months of parental leave, if they want to get the money and as you say, most only take those 2. A friend of mine has a partner, who took the whole leave while she went back to work. Now he cannot find a job because a man who took a year of parental leave is a huge risk to a company. A much higher risk than a woman who took the leave. (Women are expected to take it.)

In general, we don't have great part time solutions, it's expected of everyone to work full time, especially if you are, for example, a department leader. Women here are usually expected to work part time and men are those who take up the "responsible" jobs. As a woman with a career you better not have children.The problems you mentioned are the reason why Germany has such a low birth rate.

By the way that reward Lily mentioned - I just heard that you are only entitled to it right now if your kid was born after August 2012.


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