Keeping women in work - without overburdening companies
In order for parents to be able to reconcile their gainful employment with their new family responsibilities when a child arrives, each parent is entitled to parental leave until the child reaches the age of three. Each parent is entitled to the three years separately, and the periods can also be taken in parallel. Parental leave can be claimed in the form of partial or full leave. It can neither be excluded nor limited. Parental allowance can also be claimed for a regular period of twelve months, or 14 months if both parents take parental leave. This is intended to provide families with financial security during periods of leave. Companies must be able to implement the (partial) leaves of absence without great personnel or financial effort. Piecemeal time off should therefore be avoided as far as possible.
Keeping in touch during parental leave
A claim to parental leave must be made in writing to the employer. A period of seven weeks must be observed. If a complete leave of absence is requested, the employer generally has no possibility of refusal. Each parent can divide their parental leave into three periods; however, if the third period is taken after the child has reached the age of three, the employer can refuse this under certain conditions. Before the child reaches the age of three, the employee must also make a binding decision on the periods within two years for which he or she will take parental leave. A later change can then only be considered with the consent of the employer.
Employees can take up to 24 months of parental leave in the period between their third birthday and the completion of the child's eighth year. The previously necessary consent of the employer to a so-called transfer of parental leave is no longer required. An extended notice period of 13 weeks applies. Details can be found in §§ 15 and 16 BEEG. The employer may reduce the holiday entitlement accruing during the period of parental leave in accordance with § 17 BEEG.
Parental leave can also be taken in the form of part-time parental leave, i.e. the employee works part-time during a period of parental leave.
An entitlement to this exists for employers with more than 15 employees as a rule. The working hours must be at least 15 and no more than 30 hours per week on average. The law requires the parties to the employment contract to reach an agreement on the reduction and distribution of working hours. If this does not succeed, the employee may, under certain conditions, assert a claim to a reduction in working hours if there are no urgent operational reasons for not doing so (§ 15 paras. 6 and 7 BEEG).There
is special protection against dismissal during parental leave (§§ 18, 19 BEEG).
It always makes sense for companies to maintain contact with employees who do not appear at the company during parental leave. In this way, a bond can be maintained despite the absence and a smooth return to work can be achieved.
Elterngeld Plus promotes gainful employmentParentalallowance
is a tax-financed wage replacement benefit.
The period of entitlement is limited to 14 months if both parents are involved in childcare. If only one parent contributes, he or she is entitled to a maximum of 12 months (§§ 1 ff BEEG). In principle, parental allowance can be drawn during the first 14 months of a child's life. Paragraph 4, subsection 1 of the BEEG provides for exceptions to this rule. Maternity benefits are offset against parental allowance months (§ 3 BEEG). The amount of parental allowance is based on the monthly net disposable income that the parent providing care had before the birth of the child and that ceases to exist after the birth. The parental allowance amounts to at least €300 (€150 for ElterngeldPlus) and at most €1,800 (€900 for ElterngeldPlus) per month.
Alternatively, since 2015 it has been possible to claim Elterngeld Plus (parental allowance plus), which makes sense if the beneficiary works part-time during parental leave.
The aim of this instrument is to encourage women to return to work more quickly and to contribute to a partnership-based division of gainful employment and care work. Parental allowance plus amounts to a minimum of €150 and a maximum of €900 per month. The principle of "half as much, but twice as long" applies. The reference period of 12 or 14 weeks can be extended to up to 24 or 28 months with Elterngeld Plus.
In addition, there is another possibility to extend the reference period, the partnership bonus.
If both parents work an average of 25 to 30 hours per week for four consecutive months at the same time, they are additionally entitled to Elterngeld Plus for this period.