Parental Leave and Parental Benefit
According to the German Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz (federal law for parental benefit and parental leave), parents have a statutory right to claim parental leave (Elternzeit) and parental benefit (Elterngeld), also known as parental allowance: Each parent (individually or jointly) is entitled to parental leave until the child turns three years old. As he/she is not obliged to work during this period, a salary will not be paid, but the job remains open and the contract can not be terminated by the employer due to a special protection of dismissal (Kündigungsschutz). An application for parental leave has to be submitted to the employer no later than seven weeks before it is due to begin. Part-time employment with a maximum of 30 hours/week is legitimate.
During parental leave, parents are also entitled to parental benefit. It is salary-based and about 65% of the previous (net) income (with a minimum of 300 Euro and up to a maximum of 1800 Euro per month). It is paid for a maximum of twelve months, unless both parents take parental leave of at least two months. In this case, parental benefit will be paid for up to fourteen months. Parents may also split the fourteen months and may each take seven months of parental leave.
Entitlement to parental benefit applies if the parents live with their child in one household, raise their child themselves, do not work full-time, and if their habitual place of residence is in Germany. As with child benefit, parents who live in a foreign country are also entitled to parental benefit if their workplace is in Germany and if their income is subject to income tax, for example when the income is mainly earned in Germany.
As of 1 January 2015, parents who work part-time may receive Elterngeld Plus (Parental Benefit Plus), which is paid as a substitute for the reduced income due to part-time employment. Parental benefit Plus is paid for twice as long as parental benefit, i.e. one month of parental benefit equals two months of parental benefit Plus, with the amount of benefit reduced according to the longer period of benefit receipt (with a minimum of 150 Euro and a maximum of 900 Euro per month). A combination of parental benefit and parental benefit Plus is possible.
Advice and information on parental leave and parental benefit is provided by the Elterngeldstelle of the City of Oldenburg.
Parental Benefit for EU, EEA, and Swiss Citizens
Citizens of the EU, EEA, and of Switzerland are entitled to parental benefit if their employment/workplace or their place of residence is in Germany. If one parent is employed in a foreign country, entitlement to parental benefit may be given in the other country and may be taken into account when applying for German parental benefit.
Parental Benefit for Citizens of other countries
Citizens of other countries who have their habitual place of residence in Germany are also entitled to parental benefit if they have a permanent settlement permit or permanent residence permit that allows employment.
Elterngeldstelle of the City of Oldenburg
(Amt für Jugend, Familie und Schule)
Phone: 0441 / 235 4444
Telephone advice service:
Mon to Fri 7 to 18
Personal consultation on Mondays, Tuedays and Thursdays from 8 to 12 and in the afternoon after appointment by phone, on Fridays from 8 to 12, closed on Wednesdays
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Soziales, Gesundheit und Gleichstellung (The Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, and Gender Equality of Lower Saxony):
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees):
- Parental Leave and Parental Allowance (Benefit) (in English)