Parental leave and allowance

Parental leave and parental allowance are intended to allow workers more flexible care for their child. Whether there is a right depends on the Federal Parental Allowance and Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz – BEEG).

Parental leave

Employees are entitled to parental leave from their employer for the purpose of caring for and bringing up a child. This entitlement lasts until the child reaches the age of three. The requirements are set out in §§ 15 – 21 BEEG. In the case of several children, the entitlement applies to each child. Parental leave may be taken by either parent alone or by both parents together.

During parental leave, the employee is released from the obligation to perform unpaid work. The employment relationship itself remains in force. At the end of parental leave, the employee is entitled to return to his previous job or to another equivalent job. During parental leave, part-time work of up to 30 hours per week is permitted.

Anyone wishing to claim parental leave must in principle request this in writing from the employer no later than 7 weeks before the start of the period. At the same time, it must be declared for which periods parental leave is to be taken within two years. The third year of parental leave, on the other hand, is flexible. With the employer’s consent, it can be transferred to the period up to the child’s 8th birthday.

Special protection against dismissal

According to § 18 BEEG, there is special protection against dismissal during parental leave. It is almost impossible for parents to give notice from the time of application until the end of parental leave.

Parental allowance

In addition, parents can receive parental allowance from the state until the child reaches the age of 14 under certain conditions. Conditions are regulated in §§ 1 – 14 BEEG. The parent who, because of the care and upbringing of the child, has no or no full gainful employment is entitled to parental benefit. The latter is the case if the applying parent does not work more than 30 hours a week. However, a parent can in principle only receive parental allowance for a maximum of 12 months. As a rule, the other two months can only be claimed by the other parent if the income from gainful employment is reduced. Single parents can claim parental allowance for the full 14 months.

The amount of the parental allowance is currently at least EUR 300 and a maximum of EUR 1800. The exact amount depends on the average monthly net income earned by the applying parent in the 12 months prior to the birth of the child. If the average monthly net income is between 1000 and 1200 EUR, the parental allowance is 67 percent of the previous income. When the average net income is below 1000 EUR, the parental allowance can be up to 100 percent of the previous income; if the average net income is over 1200 EUR, the parental allowance is reduced to 65 percent. Parental allowance must be applied for in writing to the competent authority. In Berlin, the competent authority is the youth welfare office of the respective residential district.