Increases to benefits for Czech and expat families in 2018
The Czech government has introduced a number of positive reforms to family benefits. Graphic: @BrnoDaily
Author: Lucia Konôpková January 4, 2018
The Czech Republic already had a reputation for being an excellent place to raise a family. This year, the government has introduced a number of improvements that will ease the financial burden on families. Qualifying for some benefits has become easier, and the value of several benefits that can be claimed has been increased as well. Moreover, some of these enhanced benefits can be claimed retrospectively for children who are four years of age or younger.
On the 1st of January 2018, several changes concerning social benefits in the Czech Republic, such as parental and child benefits, came into effect. The changes were announced to all the parents already drawing benefits via an official letter in November and December last year. Overall, the impact of the changes is beneficial for the recipients of the benefits. In the case of parental and child benefits:
- within the determined parental benefit limits, all recipients can now lower or increase the amount of their monthly benefit every three months,
- generally, the monthly limits (of both parental and child benefits) have been increased, and
- the family income limit below which families become eligible for child benefits has been increased.
The eligibility conditions applying to foreign parents in connection with the type and length of their (families’) stays in the Czech Republic remain unchanged. As this article will only deal with the changes implemented in 2018, for details concerning eligibility conditions and application procedures of any of the three main family benefits, see Brno Expat Centre’s (BEC) infosheet on maternity, parental and child benefits.
The original maximal monthly limit of parental benefit (CZK 11,500) has been canceled and replaced by a new calculation formula based on the daily basis of assessment for determination of one’s (theoretical) maternity benefit (PB max = 30 x daily basis x 0.7). Depending on the height of the parent’s income, their maximal monthly parental allowance can be as high as their (theoretical) maternity benefit. As a result of that, parents with higher income will be able to draw the benefit quicker.
In case the daily basis of assessment cannot be determined for either of the parents, the maximal monthly limit is CZK 7,600. However, according to the new rules, this sum does not get automatically lowered at the beginning of the tenth month of age of the baby. The parent can continue drawing the benefit in the highest possible monthly amount until the total allocated sum (CZK 220,000) is used up.
There is good news for parents of multiple children (twins, triplets etc.) as well. The original total sum CZK 220,000 has been raised to CZK 330,000. What is more, apart from parents who are already drawing the benefit or apply after 1 January 2018, this positive change also concerns cases when the original (lower) total sum has already been used up but the children have yet not turned four years of age. Also, the calculation formula (PB max = 30 x daily basis of assessment x 1.5 in case of parents whose daily basis can be assessed) and the maximal monthly limit CZK 11,400 (in case of parents whose daily basis cannot be assessed) represent double and 1.5 times the previously granted monthly allowance respectively.
The new conditions are binding for all the parents who apply after 1 January 2018. Those parents who are already drawing parental benefit can either continue under the same conditions as before or they can apply for a change at any point from the 1st of January 2018 onwards by handing in an official form called Volba výše rodičovského příspěvku. Once the application has been accepted and the change approved, it will be possible to apply for an increase/decrease of the monthly amount within the allowed limits once in three months. If parents of multiple children want to take advantage of the above-mentioned changes, they need to reapply and thus go through the whole application procedure once again.
Thanks to the changes, family income limit below which a family becomes eligible for a child benefit has been increased from 2.4 to 2.7 times the family´s living minimum. As a result, more families will become eligible for this type of benefit. What is more, also monthly amounts of child benefit on all three levels based on the age of the child (below six, between six and fifteen and between fifteen and twenty-six) have been increased from CZK 500, 610 and 700 to CZK 800, 910 and 1000 respectively.
The changes are automatically binding for parents who apply after 1 January 2018 as well as those who are already drawing child benefit. There is no need to apply in order to switch into the new system. The new conditions and monthly amounts will be taken into consideration during the nearest compulsory reapplication in the first month of every calendar quarter.
Other social benefits
The above-mentioned changes also affect other types of social benefits such as parental benefit for parents providing temporary foster care or housing benefit. You will find more information (in Czech only) in the official press release published on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.