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Parental leave, parental benefits & child benefits


Parental leave

Parental leave allows you to take time off to take care of your child without losing your connection to your professional life.

All employees have the right to take parental leave up until their child’s third birthday. You do not have to work while on parental leave. Your job will remain secure and your employer may not fire you. Fathers and mothers may take parental leave separately or together. Grandparents may also have a right to parental leave if the parents are still minors or in the final or penultimate year of a vocational training programme that began while the parent was still a minor.

The important thing is that you live with the child in the same household, are the person primarily responsible for taking care of and raising the child, and that you do not work more than 30 hours per week during your parental leave.

You must request parental leave with your employer at least seven weeks before your parental leave is to begin. Your employer must allow you to return to a position of equal value at the end of your parental leave.

Parental benefits

Parental benefits are financial assistance from the government for parents who want to raise their children themselves for a period of time after the child is born and do not want to be employed or fully employed for this reason during that time. Parents who were not working prior to the birth of their child may receive parental benefits. 

The most important information about parental benefits:

  • Parental benefits are provided in the amount of approx. 2/3 of the parents’ income with a limit of min. 300 EUR and a max. of 1,800 EUR.
  • Parental benefits are provided for 12 months.
  • If the mother and father choose to take parental leave separately from each other, they can receive parental benefits for a max. of 14 months. In this case, one parent may receive parental benefits for a min. of 2 and a max. of 12 months. Single parents may receive the full 14 months of parental benefits if they are receiving it as compensation for lost income.
  • You may receive parental benefits even if you were not employed prior to the birth of your child.

In order to receive parental benefits, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are taking care of and raising your child yourself after its birth.
  • You live in the same household as your child.
  • You do not work more than 30 hours per week.
  • Your place of residence is in Germany.

Citizens of EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Sweden as well as German citizens have the right to receive parental benefits if they work or live in Germany. For other foreign citizens: You may receive parental benefits if you have a permanent residence permit. If you have a residence permit, you may only receive parental benefits if you or the other parent have a permit to work in Germany or are already working in Germany with a work permit. You should speak with an adviser with regards to the exact rules and regulations.

Parental benefits must be applied for in writing. The German states have set up Parental Benefits Offices for receiving applications.

Child benefits

Parents have to right to child benefits up until the 18th birthday of their child, provided the child lives in Germany, a member EU state or in a country that is a member of the EEC Treaty. Child benefits may be extended until the child’s 25th birthday if the child is in a vocational training programme or a student.

Citizens of EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Sweden as well as German citizens have the right to receive child benefits if they work or live in Germany.

Child benefits - Amount

Parents receive 184 EUR per child per month for the first two children, 190 EUR for the third child and 215 EUR for each additional child. Child benefits must be applied for at the Family Treasury (Familienkasse) of the Employment Office (Agentur für Arbeit). Families may also receive deductions for children who are dependants on their income taxes. The form for applying for child benefits is available at the Family Treasury (or online by clicking on the following link).

(Source: Federal Ministry for Migration and Refugees)