Parental allowance in Germany

In Germany, parental money is paid to Elterngeld if mom or dad left work to look after the child in the first year of his life. The purpose of the allowance is to allow a working parent to go on maternity leave in order to fully or partially devote themselves to caring for a child without losing their livelihood. Cash support helps to maintain the financial well-being of the family.

Elterngeld variants

The right to a minimum parental allowance of 300 € is also granted to residents of Germany who did not receive income before the birth of a child, such as students. You do not need to interrupt your studies to receive benefits.

The parental allowance is received from the birth of the child . The money is paid monthly.

There are three options for getting support:

  • Basic – Basiselterngeld.
  • Extended – ElterngeldPlus.
  • Affiliate Bonus – Partnerschaftsbonus.

These options are combined. The amount of the benefit and the duration of the benefit depends on the option chosen and the personal life situation.

Terms of payment of parental money

You can receive basic parental allowance in the first year of a child’s life . If the mother and father apply for Basic Benefit and one of them works, the benefit is extended to 14 months. These 2 additional payments are called an affiliate bonus .

Single parents in Germany receive the partner supplement “for free”. If the parents are divorced, at least 12 months always goes to the person with whom the newborn lives. Simply put, mothers.

You may receive basic benefits together, one after the other, or alternately. The father and mother decide for themselves who and when to receive payments.

The extended option is paid twice as long as the basic one, but the amount is half. In the end, the amount is the same, but not divided by 12-14, but by 24-28.

The term of the partner bonus at ElterngeldPlus is also doubled.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Basic money is received only for the first 14 months of a child’s life.
  • After that only ElterngeldPlus is allowed.
  • You cannot interrupt your benefits after the main deadline. If a year and 2 months after giving birth, neither of the parents received money, the right to benefits is lost, even if not paid in full.
  • The time the mother receives Mutterschaftsgeld Maternity Benefit is counted as the months in which she receives Basic Parental Benefit. It doesn’t matter if my mother applied or not. During this period, she cannot receive ElterngeldPlus or an affiliate bonus. But the father can choose which parental benefit option he wants to receive.

Example. The mother receives basic support for the first 4 months of the child’s life, the father for 5 and 6 months. From 7 to 14 months of age, both receive ElterngeldPlus. Thus, the parents spent six months on Basiselterngeld and 16 months on ElterngeldPlus, which corresponds to 14 Basiselterngeld boards in total.

Parental benefits in Germany

The amount of the childcare allowance in Germany depends on the income of a parent taking maternity leave and is 300-1800 € per month .

  • Unemployed Germans or those earning a minimum are satisfied with 300 €. For ALG II recipients, when applying for Elterngeld, the benefits of German unemployment benefits are reduced.
  • With income less than 1000 €, the percentage increases with 67% in 0.1% increments for every 2 € decrease from 1000 €. 998 € gives 67.1%, at 996 € – 67.2% and so on up to 100% at 340 €.
  • If the earnings are 1200 € to 1000 €, 67% is paid.
  • From 1240 € to 1200 €, the percentage gradually increases from 65 to 67% according to the rule 0.1% for 2 €.
  • Between 1240 € and 2770 € the rate is unchanged – 65%.
  • Salaries above 2770 € do not add to the maximum amount of 1800 €.

Calculating the amount of parental money, taking into account the nuances and dividing it into options by month, is a non-trivial task. Those who know German use the counter on the Familienprotal state portal . Not to say that the counter is simple, but at least you won’t need a calculator.

In parallel and independently of Elterngeld, the Kindergeld child allowance is also paid in Germany .

Elterngeld for entrepreneurs

You should carefully consider the planning of maternity leave in the case of private entrepreneurship .

If a child is born at the beginning of a career, when a year of work has not passed, by default the amount earned before the birth is taken into account. If the parent worked for six months, the earned during this period will be divided by 12 and will pay 65-67% of the amount received.

The second important point: only the entrepreneur’s net profit is taken into account – income minus expenses.

Geschwisterbonus – bonus for having many children

If the newborn has a brother or sister in the family, you can apply for the Geschwisterbonus. The benefit is increased by 10%, but by a minimum of 75 € for the basic benefit or 37.5 € for the extended benefit.

The bonus is calculated if the family, in addition to the baby, lives:

  • one child under 3 years old;
  • or two children under 6;
  • or a disabled child under 14 years old.

Parents will receive the Geschwisterbonus for the last time in the month when the second child reaches the age limit indicated above.

Twins are considered one child in the context of the bonus.

Registration of the manual

The parent must independently submit the application to the Elterngeldstelle. In many federal states, you can apply online .

It is possible to submit an application only after the birth of a child. It is best to do this within the first three months of the newborn’s life, because the benefit is retroactively paid a maximum of three times.

A birth certificate and a certificate of income for the last year before birth are attached to the application. You can make changes to the application at any time. But there are limitations:

  • You cannot change data submitted earlier than three months ago.
  • After the end of the benefit period, no changes are possible.
  • Changes during the period when the benefit has already been paid are only possible in special cases. For example, in the event of the death or serious illness of the other parent.

Any changes are possible during the period for which the benefit has not yet been paid.

If the parent believes that the amount of the benefit has been calculated incorrectly, he must submit a written objection to the Elterngeldstelle.

Elterngeld and health insurance premiums

Check with your health insurance company before applying. In Germany, there is an incident when the beneficiary is forced to pay contributions while receiving parental money.

If the employee is insured with private health insurance , he continues to pay the premiums and nothing changes.

When an employee is insured by the state health fund , the annual income is important.

According to the law, an employee in Germany receives the right to choose whether to remain in state insurance or go into private if he earns over a certain limit. In 2020, the transition level is € 62,550. Having remained in state medical insurance, the employee is automatically transferred to the mode of voluntary payment of contributions . In the context of receiving medical services or calculating the salary for the employee, nothing changes: he also continues to pay a percentage of his salary to the health insurance fund.

But for Elterngeld’s design, this distinction is crucial. Those in state insurance on a voluntary basis are required to pay contributions themselves. And those who earn less than the limit should not.

In the case of self-payment, the fee is calculated based on the minimum health insurance premium. For 2020, the minimum is approximately 185 €.

Fathers in Germany rarely take maternity leave

Both parents can take turns taking leave, ideally 7 months each. In the event the father leaves on maternity leave, even for a minimum two-month period, the family is extended payments with a partnership bonus. However, only 36% of German men use the opportunity. Most leave only for a minimal amount of time.

The study found that fathers who take parental leave spend on average more time with their children and are more likely to help around the house than men who did not take parental leave. This proves that the law plays a positive role in strengthening the family.

But the bulk of Germans still do not want to take time out for the child and family. There are common excuses for this.

  • That they are irreplaceable workers and even if they wanted, the boss would not let go. Even if the boss never spoke about it. However, a lot depends on the leadership and culture of the company.
  • The next reason is income, which is often higher for men than for women. In Germany, the wage gap reaches 21%.
  • And the last factor is the women themselves. Some people want to stay on vacation longer.

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Igor Smith/ author of the article
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