Report Nº: 105224/01/2024


The Omnibus law proposes changes to the “1,000 Days Law”, a health act that grants additional family allowances to mothers with children under 3 years of age. Congress has the opportunity to rectify mistakes and improve social protection by simplifying and automating the family allowances system.

At the end of 2020, the so-called “1,000 Days Law” was enacted. Its objective is to strengthen health care for mothers and children in the first 3 years of life. There are no impact evaluations of this norm, but a strong indication that there are no good results is that it has to be implemented by an administrative coordination unit composed of 8 national agencies involved with infancy. The aggravating factor is that the care of children in Argentina is the responsibility of the provinces.

The omnibus bill submitted by the Executive to Congress proposes to modify this law. Between articles 504° to 534°, changes of little relevance are listed. In Article 511° it is maintained that the national State shall implement the public and free provision of medicines, vaccines and milk to pregnant women and children. This preserves the collision of national roles with those of the provinces.

To improve social protection, it is necessary to start with the fact that the national State administers different instruments to assist children. Assuming the case of a mother with a child it is observed that:

  • If the woman is a formal wage earner with a remuneration of less than AR$320,000 she receives in family allowance for her child AR$20,661 per month.
  • If she does not work or is informally employed, she receives AR$41,322 from the AUH plus AR$33,000 from the Food Program.
  • If she does not work or is informally employed and her child is under 3 years old, the “1,000 days law” grants another AR$2,597 per month for milk plus AR$41,322 once a year, for the child’s health care.  

These data show the lack of rationality of the family allowance system managed by the national government. Firstly, different concepts assist to the same people for similar reasons (food and health of the child). The overlapping of the “1,000 Days Law” with the AUH and the Food Program is grotesque. Secondly, labor inactivity and informal employment are promoted since the amount of family allowances is significantly reduced in the case of a registered salaried job and, on top of that, having a formal job requires paying for social security charges.

The omnibus law, instead of keeping the promise of free medicines, vaccines and milk, should address the organization of the family allowance system. The overlapping between benefits regulated by different agencies must be eliminated. The complex matrix that differentiates the amount of benefits according to 4 zones of the country and 4 salary levels must also be ordered. This confuses beneficiaries and prevents the State from controlling the benefits efficiently. Even more questionable is the continued use of a paper booklet for health and education controls of the AUH. Digitizing the monitoring of conditionalities can reduce bureaucracy for the people, schools, hospitals and the social security agency. In addition, this will lower administrative costs, errors and frauds.

Congress has the opportunity to organize the family allowance system. The disruptive factor is simplification. Instead of different national agencies transferring money to the same families for similar reasons, it is necessary to unify in a single-child allowance of the same amount for the whole country and without differentiating according to employment status.  Another essential change is to stop using the paper booklet to control education and health conditions. The provinces –which administer public schools and hospitals– must provide the information in digital format so that social security agency can monitor conditionalities. 

The Omnibus Law should repeal the “1,000 Days Law”. Because by interfering in the care of children, which is a provincial function, it clashes with the national and provincial constitutions. Instead, it should simplify the family allowance system and digitize its management. With these changes, fully consistent with the philosophy of the project, the Congress would make a very relevant contribution to improve social protection.


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