Germany: New legislation to make parental leave more flexible

Amendments to the laws on parental leave are to be introduced to make them more flexible.

In September 2014, the Federal Parliament debated the draft version of an amendment to the 2006 act on parental leave and parental allowance. The Federal Council approved the draft version in June. The reforms will be introduced in early 2015.

The original 2006 legislation was seen as successful in terms of raising the number of working mothers and the number of fathers who take on childcare duties. The new rules will combine parental leave and part-time work (for both mothers and fathers) and allow parents to take several periods of parental leave.

The amended act will give parents the right to work part-time while drawing parental allowance – under existing legislation a parent receiving parental allowance may work part-time, but earnings are subtracted from parental allowances.

If a parent works part-time, the duration of the parental allowance will be doubled.

If both parents decide to work part-time – between 25 and 30 hours – parental allowances will be granted for an additional four months.

Parents will have the right to take another 24 months of parental leave when the child between four and eight year-old. This 24 months of parental leave can be taken in two to three stages.

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