UĦM calls for free childcare facilities for all
The Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin is urging the government to introduce free childcare services for all those parents who wish to make use of them.
Union officials said the proposal would benefit middle and low-income families and the economy in general, while not being a burden on the state.
The proposal is the main one being made by the union for the Budget.
Josef Vella, UHM General Secretary, said that Malta's female employment ratio was performing worst in the sector of mothers who would have left school at the end of secondary. They found that it was not viable for them to pay for childcare in order to go out to work.
The provision of free childcare facilities would encourage some 2000 such mothers to go out to work, Mr Vella said.
He said the government should offer up to 5,000 places for children in childcare facilities (from the current 2,000).
This, they said, would create 2,550 jobs, of which 550 would be new carer jobs and 2,000 would be the mothers taking up paid work.
The outlay on the childcare services was projected to be around €11m in salaries for child carers and €3.5m to cover running costs for a total of €14.55 million.
However the government would receive revenue of €4.34 million in direct taxation (based on the 2,000 mothers working an average of 33.7 hours a week and paid the minimum wage). There would also be €10.4 million in indirect taxation and €600,000 less in tax credits for total revenue of €15.43 million.
In other proposals, the UHM called for more sustainable pensions, including talks for the introduction of second pillar pensions by 2015.