When a baby comes: maternity protection, parental leave and parental allowance

Working women who have a baby are legally entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave in Germany, which covers the time before and after the birth. They can also take three years of parental leave to care for their child. During this time, most parents are entitled to financial support for childcare – parental allowance – for one year.
If a woman becomes pregnant, she should inform her employer soon. Because then the Maternity Protection Act applies to her: so she is no longer allowed to do heavy lifting, handle toxic substances or work at night. All officially employed women are entitled to maternity protection, regardless of their nationality. The employment ban usually starts 6 weeks before the birth and also covers the two months after the birth. However, pregnant women are allowed to work of their own accord during the six weeks before the birth. After maternity leave, the woman can return to work. She may not be dismissed because of her pregnancy, and her leave does not expire. The many rules in individual cases can be read up on the internet:
Maternity benefit is paid by the statutory health insurance funds. If the average net wage is higher than 13 euros per day, the mother is also entitled to an employer’s allowance, because maternity pay covers a maximum of 13 euros per day. In total, she thus receives 100 per cent of her salary. If a woman is not employed, she is entitled to social assistance of 300 euros per month during this period.
After maternity leave has expired, the woman can extend her child-raising period. This phase is called parental leave. It can be taken until the child is three years old. Mothers and fathers can also take parental leave alternately, two to twelve months at a time. No salary is paid during this time, but parents receive financial support during the first year. An application for parental leave must be submitted in writing to the employer at least 7 weeks in advance.
Parental allowance is intended to compensate for the loss of income during the time parents care for their child after birth. The amount of these payments ranges from 300 to 1800 euros per month and depends on the income of the last 12 months before the birth of the child. There are three options for financial support: basic parental allowance, parental allowance plus and the partnership bonus: If the father also claims two months of parental allowance, the payments are extended to 14 months. They can be combined and depend on the parents’ personal decision and life situation. Parental allowance is applied for at the parental allowance office of the place of residence. During parental leave, parents may work up to 32 hours per week.
ElterngeldPlus promotes the compatibility of work and family, especially for parents who want to work part-time and receive childcare benefits at the same time.
The partnership bonus enables each parent to receive up to four additional months of Elterngeld Plus. This bonus is available if both parents work part-time at the same time (25 to 30 hours per week).
Information in Ukrainian can be found on the web:
An online parental allowance calculator is available at the Federal Family Portal. www.familienportal.de/familienportal/meta/egr



Eine Kinderwiege. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Qoutayba Abboud.


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