Pre-election childcare demand is not ‘ultimate’: Danish party

The Socialist People’s Party (SF), a parliamentary ally of the new government, says an election promise it made over staff-child ratios at kindergartens is not ‘ultimate’.

Pre-election childcare demand is not 'ultimate': Danish party
File photo: Johan Gadegaard / Midtjyske Medier / Ritzau Scanpix

Prior to the election, SF repeated its position that an industry recommendation over the ratio of staff to adults at Danish municipal daycare institutions, termed minimumsnormeringer in Danish, should be enforced by the government, with necessary funding.

The Danish union for childcare workers, BUPL, recommends a minimum ratio of 1 adult to 3 children in nurseries (roughly 0-3 year olds), and 1 adult to 6 children in kindergartens (roughly 3-5 year olds).

Parents across the country demonstrated earlier this year in an effort to see the ratios implemented.

READ ALSO: Why are so many parents in Denmark demonstrating over childcare?

“If (prime minister) Mette Frederiksen does not deliver this in the government outline, we will propose it as an amendment to the budget,” SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr told newspaper Politiken prior to the election.

“And if we do not get it through in the budget, we won’t support the budget,” Dyhr added.

That position now appears to have changed, the newspaper reports.

The agreement reached by SF and the other three left wing parties on Tuesday night, paving the way for Frederiksen to become prime minister, states that the government will implement legally-enforced childcare ratios by 2025.

But the party’s parliamentary group leader Jacob Mark told Politiken that SF no longer had specific demands on the actual numbers.

“Nobody is saying it shouldn’t be three and six. That is still SF’s principle,” Mark told Politiken.

“But it is not ultimate,” he added.

BUPL leader Elisa Rimpler told Politiken she considered it crucial that the necessary funding was made available to ensure the stated childcare staffing.

“It would clearly be a concern if we began to see a retreat on the understanding of what a minimum is,” Rimpler said.

“If we go much further down, the limit would be so low that it would make no real difference,” she added.

READ ALSO: Election 2019: Frederiksen refuses to guarantee childcare ratios

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Danish government declines to close childcare but asks parents to keep small children at home

The government has encouraged parents to care for small children at home despite childcare facilities such as kindergartens remaining open.

Danish government declines to close childcare but asks parents to keep small children at home
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Although Denmark’s national lockdown was further tightened by new measures on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s government has resisted closing nurseries and kindergartens (vuggestuer and børnehaver in Danish, ed.).

Schools are closed until at least January 17th, however.

Some left wing parties as well as a union for child care workers have called for the kindergarten facilities to join schools in being closed, according to reports by broadcaster DR.

The government has said that childcare facilities will not be closed but has asked parent to take care of pre-school kids at home where possible.

“Daycare is open since infections are still not being driven by the smallest children. Childcare should take place in small, regular groups where possible,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

“Parents are encouraged to keep children home from childcare if this is possible. Additionally, the option of using e.g. visors with regard to daycare will be looked into,” the statement adds.

Meanwhile, the national infectious disease agency SSI said on Wednesday that 63,312 people in the country have received at least one of the two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

That corresponds to 1.08 percent of the population, according SSI.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What coronavirus restrictions does Denmark now have in place?