Once parents’ right to parental leave has ended, parents can choose either municipal or private day care for their child or child home care allowance.
The official name for day care in Finland is early childhood education and care (ECEC). ECEC is part of the Finnish education system. All children under school age are entitled to ECEC even if one or both parents are at home.
Municipal day care
Municipalities provide day care in day care centres, group family day care and family day care for children aged 0–6-years. You need to apply for a place in municipal day care four months before the care starts. Parents can get a place in two weeks if they get a job or start studying. Find out more about early childhood education and care on the Suomi.fi service.
The fee charged for municipal day care depends on the family’s income, size and the number of hours per week the child spends in early childhood education and care. Find out more about the criteria for calculating ECEC fees on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Private day care
Private day care centres and group family day care centres provide day care for children aged 0–6-years. To get a place in day care, apply directly to the day care centre concerned. You can also look for a private family caregiver to look after your child in their home, or hire a caregiver in your own home.
The prices for private day care vary. You can get private day care allowance for the fees from the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), meaning that private day care is not necessarily much more expensive than municipal day care. If you pay for a caregiver in your home, you become an employer, and you must fulfil an employer’s obligations.
Find out more about private day care on the InfoFinland website. You can find more information on private day care allowance on Kela’s website.
Child home care allowance
You are entitled to child home care allowance if you have a child under 3 years old who does not have a place in municipal day care. Parents do not have to look after their child at home themselves - the caregiver can be another person. Find out more about child home care allowance on Kela’s website.
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