These institutions are faced daily with questions they cannot answer. Although the measure is already provided for by law, the nurseries, which are now in the registration phase, have no idea what they will have to do.
According to the law, from 1 September, "all children entering the first year of day care in institutions of the solidarity sector with cooperation agreements will be exempt from the payment of monthly fees".
However, this statement has raised doubts, as it is not clear whether the school will be free for the first year of life or if it actually means it is free for the first year of enrolment in nursery.
The head of the National Confederation of Institutions of Solidarity (CNIS), Filomena Bordalo, told Jornal de Notícias that “there isn't a day when we don't receive emails from a school that is struggling with doubts".
According to Filomena Bordalo, the doubts are essentially about the application of the measure, from the beginning whether it will be for children up to one year old, or for all those entering a nursery for the first time in September.
In addition, not all children in subsidiary nurseries are funded by cooperation agreements with Social Security, leaving doubts about whether "the measure is for all children who have a place in these establishments or only for those covered by the agreement", adding that the entity she represents has been waiting since January for clarification.
To address these issues, Jornal de Notícias contacted the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, which clarified that the measure will cover children "entering the first year of nursery and children in need, regardless of the school year".
However, about the children not covered by the agreements, the ministry did not clarify, but assured that the law will have to be regulated "in articulation with the representative organisations of the social and solidarity sector".
This law 2/2022 was published on 3 January as a measure to progressively make nursery schools free of charge, starting this year in the first year of school and extending to the second year in 2023. However, it will not apply to all nurseries, as private ones are not part of the measure - only social security subsidiary nurseries will be free.
This measure, which is expected to cost €16 million, applies not only to nurseries but also to nannies which are part of the ISS (Social Security Institute).