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Parental allowance and parental leave / Elterngeld und Elternzeit

Students without an income are legally entitled to the minimum parental allowance of € 300 for a maximum of 14 months.

As of 1 March 2020, working students with a residence permit for study purposes are also entitled to so-called family benefits - child benefit, parental benefit, maintenance advance payment - (previously § 16, in future § 16b AufenthG). The previous entitlement of students from Turkey, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia who are members of the German social security system (e.g. health insurance or student accident insurance) and which results from intergovernmental agreements continues to exist regardless of the above-mentioned change.

FAQs on the parental allowance

Who is entitled to the parental allowance?
All parents who are without employment or have no full-time occupation (up to 30 hours a week) are entitled to the parental allowance. That includes students. In exceptional cases, even third-degree relatives are entitled to the parental allowance if they give up their time to look after a child.

How much is the parental allowance?
The parental allowance is a wage-replacement benefit. It is calculated as 67 per cent of the net income lost (maximal € 1,800) and is at least € 300. If the net monthly income before the birth of the child was less than € 1,000, the replacement rate may be increased up to a maximum of 100 per cent. For each € 20 of income below € 1,000, the wage-replacement rate is increased by 1 per cent. The term "income" is understood as in the German Income Tax Act.

Example: If a student has a monthly income of € 400, the replacement rate increases from 67 per cent to 97 per cent and he or she receives € 388 a month.

If a second child is born, a siblings bonus is paid in addition to the parental allowance until the first child is 36 months old. The siblings bonus is at least € 75 a month or 10 per cent of the parental allowance. For the siblings bonus to be paid, there must be at least one other child under three years of age or two other children under six years of age in the household.

Example: A couple has a 28-month-old child when the second child is born. For the second child they receive the parental allowance for 12 or 14 months and the siblings bonus for 8 months (at which time the first child is 36 months old).

In case of multiple births, the parental allowance is increased by € 300 for each additional child.

How is the parental allowance calculated?
The calculation is based on the applicant's personal net income (not the family income) over the 12 months preceding the birth of the child. Applicants with no income are eligible for the basic allowance of € 300 a month.

For how long is the parental allowance paid?
The parental allowance is paid for the first 12 months of the child.s life. Parents are entitled to receive parental allowance for 14 months if the other parent looks after the child for at least two additional months. If both parents look after the child, one parent can apply for the parental allowance for no more than 12 months. The remaining two months are partner months and the other parent must apply for them. The two partners may also receive the parental allowance at the same time but the number of months is then reduced accordingly.

Example: Both parents receive the parental allowance for seven months simultaneously. There is then no further entitlement.

The period during which the parental allowance is paid may, with the same budget, be extended by twice as many months. One parent can draw half the parental allowance for up to 24 months.

Maternity benefit is not affected. If a parent is entitled to maternity benefit, this counts as two months of the mother's parental allowance. This does not lead to an extension of the period during which the parental allowance is paid.

What about single parents?
Single parents can apply for the two partner months and are entitled to the parental allowance over 14 months. For the parental allowance to be granted, the child must live alone in the home with the parent who has sole custody of the child. Looked at the other way round, this means that single parents with joint custody of the child are entitled to the parental allowance for 12 months only. The same rule applies here, too: the period during which the parental allowance is paid may, with the same budget, be extended by twice as many months. Single parents can - if they have sole custody - draw the parental allowance for up to 28 months.

Is the parental allowance taken into account when social security benefits are calculated?
Since 1 January 2011 the full parental allowance has been considered as income for those receiving unemployment benefit II / ALG II, income support / Sozialgeld and the supplementary child allowance / Kinderzuschuss. That also concerns the minimum amount of € 300, which was exempted until 2010.

How and where can I apply for the parental allowance?
You can apply for the parental allowance at the earliest on the day on which your child is born. If you apply later on, the parental allowance can be paid retrospectively for the previous three months. Click here for the application form and further information: Hessische Ämter für Versorgung und Soziales

FAQs on parental leave

The following information is relevant to students who have a job in order to fund their studies or to working partners/spouses who would like to reduce or suspend their employment during the period of parental leave. Students with children are entitled to parental leave on a par with employees (see Leave of absence).

What are the eligibility conditions for parental leave?
The eligibility conditions for parental leave are as follows:

  • You are in employment.
  • The child lives with you in the same household.
  • You have primary responsibility for looking after the child and bringing it up.
  • You work for no more than 30 hours a week during your parental leave.

Parents are free to decide which of them takes parental leave and for what periods. Parental leave may also be taken jointly. The maximum period of parental leave is three years.

In businesses with more than 15 employees, parents are entitled to work part-time (15-30 hours a week) during the period of parental leave, provided that there are, for example, no pressing operational reasons to prevent it and the period of part-time employment lasts for at least three months.

Parental leave can be taken under any kind of employment contract, i.e. short-term contracts and low-paid part-time employment. Short-term contracts are not extended by parental leave. Exceptions may be made in the case of training contracts and contracts for research associates under the Framework Act for Higher Education / Hochschulrahmengesetz (see Article 57b(4), No 3).

How long is the period of parental leave?
Parental leave generally begins at the end of maternity leave and lasts, at most, until the child is three years old.

With your employer's agreement, up to a maximum of 12 months of the three-year parental leave may be saved and carried forward until the child is eight years old. If you want parental leave to start as soon as your child is born (e.g. the father's parental leave) or at the end of maternity leave, you must notify your employer in writing at the latest six weeks before the start of the parental leave.

What about protection against dismissal during parental leave?
During parental leave, protection against dismissal is as follows:

  • Protection against dismissal starts with the application for parental leave.
  • At the earliest, however, eight weeks before the start of parental leave.
  • It ends at the end of the period of parental leave.
  • It also applies to part-time employment.
  • It also applies if the parents take joint parental leave.

Do health insurance premiums have to be paid during parental leave?
For statutory health insurance funds, compulsory membership continues to apply during parental leave, without premiums having to be paid out of the parental allowance. Compulsory members who have no other income (e.g. unemployment benefit II / ALG II) that renders them liable to pay insurance premiums are exempt from having to pay premiums for the entire period of parental leave. However, if they take up part-time employment and their remuneration is regularly more than € 400 a month, they become liable to pay insurance premiums.

The Federal Social Court in Germany has decided that students who are required to pay health insurance must pay premiums so long as they remain enrolled as students.

Voluntary members of the statutory health insurance scheme must also continue to pay premiums or at least the minimum premium. Nothing changes for people who were covered by the spouse's family insurance before their child was born.

Employees with private insurance are required to continue to pay their insurance premiums - including the portion previously covered by their employer.

How does parental leave affect pension insurance
For children born from 1992 onwards, the statutory pension insurance allows three years for their upbringing. Further information is available in the free leaflets (in German) published by the German pension insurance on "Bringing up your children - a plus for your pension" and "Women.s Pensions" (www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de).

Further information on parental leave is provided in the leaflet (in German) on parental allowance and parental leave which is published by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and can be downloaded or ordered at www.bmfsfj.de.

In Giessen and Friedberg:

Hessisches Amt für Versorgung und Soziales

Südanlage 14 A
D-35390 Gießen
Postfach 101052, 35340 Gießen
Phone 0641 7936-0
Fax 0641 7936-117

Info-Hotline: 0641 3034-444

In Fulda:

Hessisches Amt für Versorgung und Soziales

Washingtonallee 2
D-36041 Fulda
Phone 0661 62070

Consultation times:
Mon – Thu 08.00 – 15.30
Fri 08.00 – 12.00

Further information:

Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend


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