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Three-hour rule and familiar-face criterion in childcare to change

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Effective date: 1 July 2023

What changes?

Do you work in childcare (day care or out-of-school care)? The government wants to relax the Quality of Childcare Decree (Besluit kwaliteit kinderopvang). This change regards the three-hour rule and the familiar-face criterion. In practice, the current rules are too tight in combination with the present staffing shortages and workload.

Changes to the three-hour rule

  • Day care facilities (nurseries) are now allowed to deviate from the professional childcarer-child ratio (Beroepskracht-kind ratio, BRK) for 3 hours. This will not change. However, you will no longer have to record beforehand in your pedagogical policy plan at exactly which times this happens.
  • The pedagogical policy plan will describe the regular staff shifts and frameworks for the three-hour rule (how will management deal with group allocation and staff resources, in which situations will be deviated from the childcarer-child ratio and how will the needs of the child be attended to when fewer professionals are deployed?).
  • Also, childcare centres must be able to provide current rosters of professionals (with break times) and attendance lists of children (with arrival and departure times). This allows the Municipal Health Service (GGD) to verify whether a child centre deviates from the childcarer-child ratio for no more than three hours per day.

Changes to the familiar-face criterion

  • Depending on the age of the child and the size of the core childcare group each child will be assigned a number of 'familiar faces'. Each day a child is present, one of these familiar faces must also be present.
  • Child centres will be able to deviate temporarily from the familiar-face criterion. They will be allowed to do so, for instance during periods of illness, leave, or holidays of 1 or more familiar faces.
  • There will be a number of conditions for childcare centres to be allowed to deviate from this criterion. These conditions are meant to guarantee the safety and stability for the children.

For whom?

  • childcare centres, both day care centres such as nurseries as well as out-of-school care


It is expected this change in the Quality of Childcare Decree (Besluit kwaliteit kinderopvang) is expected to enter into effect on 1 July 2023.

Please note: The effective date of this measure is not yet final. Entry into force is subject to its passing through the upper and lower houses of parliament or proclamation of the Order in Council (Algemene Maatregel van Bestuur, AMvB) or ministerial decree and publication in the Staatsblad or Staatscourant (Government Gazette, in Dutch).

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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