FFE Magazine

FAQs about parental leave for dads in Germany

by FFE EU News Staff

 

Confused about some of the finer points in Germany’s parental leave rule? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

 

Parental leave in Germany is gender-neutral, where mums and dads receive almost the same amount of entitlement to allow both parents equal time for career and family.

 

But according to a poll by Forsa of 1000 fathers and stepfathers aged 20 to 55, only 38% of dads of children under age six chose to take parental leave. 80% of dads also stayed off work for only two months after the birth of their child. Despite the results, 81% said that a good father should spend as much time as possible with their children.

 

One possible reason behind the seeming low interest in parental leave or ‘elternzeit’ among dads is the complex nature of its rules, especially in the eyes of foreign-born dads. For the sake of clarity, here is a quick FAQ list for dads who may still be confused about German parental leave:

 

How much leave am I entitled to?

The jobs of mothers and fathers are protected by the law for as long as they like until their child turns three. This rule also covers step-parents who share in the caring of the child.

 

Mothers additionally have six weeks of compulsory leave before birth and eight weeks afterward. In case of premature or multiple births, this leave can be extended to 12 weeks.

 

How does parental leave work?

Parents who would like to take parental leave must apply seven weeks in advance. The duration of the leave depends on the parents. But they must limit their leaves to twice in the span of three years after birth.

 

If a parent requests one year leave, he or she cannot take any leaves the following year without permission from their employers.

 

If the parent is a minor, grandparents and other family members can also apply for parental leave.

 

What paternity pay or benefits can I claim?

Both parents are entitled to benefits when they take a leave during the first 12 months after birth. They are also entitled to two extra ‘partner months’ of benefit if they claim the benefit jointly. The benefit is 65% of the parent’s previous monthly salary. If the parent earns €1,000 or less, the benefit may increase slightly. Those with more young children additionally get a 10% or a minimum €75 a month of ‘sibling bonus.’

 

The total benefits are around a minimum of €300 to a maximum €1,800 per month. Parents who are unemployed can claim at least a minimum of €300 per month.

 

Those who are receiving parental benefit can still work part-time for up to 30 hours a week. If the company they are in has more than 15 employees, the parent is entitled to 15 to 30 part-time hours per week unless the company has reasons for not offering part-time.

 

Can my leave be extended?

Unplanned extensions or changes to the leave must be agreed upon by parent and employer. But there is no legal entitlement for extension.

 

The parent can also ‘carry over’ and use 12 months of their possible three years’ leave any time before their child turns eight.

 

Will there be reforms to the parental leave rule soon?

Families minister Manuela Schwesig has expressed desire to extend the system and subsidise parents to cut their work hours further. But there are no expected reforms anytime soon.

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