PhD scholarship students should be allowed to childcare allowance

PhD scholarship students should be allowed to childcare allowance

Are doctoral researchers with a scholarschip entitled to childcare allowance in the Netherlands?

Recently, Minister Van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science answered parliamentary questions about the right to childcare allowance for PhD candidates. The answers she gives are in line with the well-known arguments of the Dutch Tax Administration. Expertise centre ITEM questions these arguments on the basis of European law.

Two PhD students from outside the EU but working in the Netherlands are married and have a child together. To combine their parenting and research activities in the Netherlands, they make use of childcare. They have applied for childcare benefit for this purpose. According to the Dutch tax authorities, however, they are not entitled to this benefit because according to the Dutch administration, the labour of the researchers cannot be regarded as an employment.

According to ITEM Expertise Centre, the focus which Minister Van Engelshoven and the Dutch Tax Administration put on the purely legal relationship between doctoral candidate and university and the relationship of authority for the granting of childcare allowance is unjustified. European law is applicable in the case of childcare allowance. An EU directive grants the right to equal treatment with nationals of the host Member State to all holders of a residence permit as 'researchers'.

The ITEM expertise centre investigated this case and concluded that the tax authorities do not sufficiently take European rules in account here.

The ITEM Expertise Centre has advised in a case which started in September 2017 and has recently been reopened and referred to a full court. The second oral hearing is expected to take place this Spring.