The role of fathers has significantly evolved over the years, with many nowadays taking an active role in caring for their children. The new regulations around paternity leave prove to be a next crucial step toward gender equality and family-friendliness in the workplace.
Significance of Paternity Leave
Paternity leave allows new fathers to experience the first weeks after the birth of their child more intensively. This period is not only crucial for the emotional bond between father and child but also supports the partner during the initial challenges of motherhood.
Why Paternity Leave?
Paternity leave is positive in every aspect and brings various benefits to all involved parties.
Emotional Bonding: Paternity leave enables fathers to build a deeper emotional bond with their children.
Workplace Equality: Companies promoting paternity leave signal commitment to equality, creating a supportive work environment for all employees.
Health and Well-Being: Physical and emotional support during the first weeks help parents better cope with the challenges of new parenthood.
However, fathers still face challenges related to paternity leave.
Acceptance in the Workplace: Some fathers might hesitate to take paternity leave due to fears of negative impacts on their career development. Promoting a culture supporting paternity leave is crucial.
Financial Aspects: In some countries, paternity leave is not fully compensated, posing a challenge, especially for families dependent on the father's income.
Legal Vacation Entitlement
Unsure whether you're entitled to 20 days, 26 days, or maybe 30 days of vacation? We explain how much entitlement each person has in short-time work, sickness, part-time, and other special cases.
Paternity Leave Regulation 2024
Starting in 2024, Germany is set to undergo fundamental changes in the area of paternity leave. The European Union has adopted a directive providing for paid leave for fathers or equivalent parents following the birth of a child. This paternity leave is set to last two weeks, representing a significant step towards a better work-life balance for parents.
Background of the EU Directive
The EU directive aims to promote gender equality and improve the work-family balance. Specifically, paternity leave is intended to strengthen fathers' involvement in the care and education of their children. The existing regulation in Germany required fathers to take leave or parental leave after childbirth, often resulting in financial losses. The new directive aims to remove these barriers and introduce paid paternity leave.
Contents of the New Regulation
According to the EU directive, fathers or equivalent parents are entitled to a two-week paid leave following the birth of a child starting in 2024. This entitlement should apply regardless of the employee's previous length of service or affiliation with the company. Additionally, it is emphasized that paternity leave should be granted irrespective of the marital or family status of the employee, contributing to a fairer and more inclusive regulation.
Implementation in Germany
While the EU directive sets the framework for the introduction of paid paternity leave, the concrete implementation is in the hands of national legislators. In Germany, this implementation has so far only been outlined in the coalition agreement and has not yet been put into action. Family Minister Lisa Paus (Green Party) stated that the challenging economic situation, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, hinders implementation this year. However, she provided a positive outlook that paid leave for the second parent after childbirth would be introduced in Germany from 2024. This regulation is expected to be anchored in the Maternity Protection Act.
How to Apply for Paternity Leave
Currently, paternity leave must still be applied for as parental leave since the planned law has not yet come into effect.
- The application must be submitted 7 weeks before the start date, based on the calculated due date of the child. The actual due date does not affect the compliance with the deadline.
- The Federal Labor Court stipulates that the application must be submitted in the form of a handwritten, signed letter.
This application must thus include the start date (which may shift with the birth), the general duration, and the distribution of parental leave for the next 24 months. These dates are binding.
As long as the application is submitted on time and in the correct form, it generally cannot be rejected by the employer and does not necessarily require the employer's approval, except regarding changes to the already agreed-upon parental leave data.
Paternity Leave as Special Leave
As of the current situation, the upcoming paternity leave in 2024 is considered special leave. This means it has no impact on the legally entitled and contractually agreed-upon vacation days.
For special leave to be applied for and approved, a corresponding vacation request must precede it. However, the duration of this special leave is often decided on a case-by-case basis, typically ranging from one to three days.
Job Protection during Paternity Leave
Submitting a parental leave application according to § 18 BEEG simultaneously triggers job protection. This protection comes into effect eight or fourteen weeks before the planned start of parental leave. During this period, terminations are only permitted in exceptional cases.
Paternity Leave and Parental Allowance
While paternity leave is not directly related to parental allowance, the same requirements of parental leave must be met to receive parental allowance. Additionally, the place of residence must be in Germany.
In Germany, there are variations of parental allowance aimed at financially supporting parents after the birth of a child. The two main variations are Basic Parental Allowance and Parental Allowance Plus. There is also the option of the so-called Partnership Bonus Months, which parents can additionally claim if both partners work part-time.
Basic Parental Allowance: Replacing a portion of lost income after the birth of the child, Basic Parental Allowance typically amounts to 65-67% of the average monthly net income before birth, with a minimum of 300 euros and a maximum of 1,800 euros per month. Parents can receive Basic Parental Allowance for up to 14 months, which can be divided between both parents, with a minimum of two months reserved for each partner.
Parental Allowance Plus: Offering more flexibility, especially for parents who want to work part-time, Parental Allowance Plus can be used for up to 28 months instead of the full duration of Basic Parental Allowance. Parents who choose Parental Allowance Plus receive half of the monthly Basic Parental Allowance but have the option to receive this money over a more extended period.
##Conclusion Paternity leave plays a crucial role in promoting gender equality and family-friendliness. Modern fathers should take advantage of the opportunity to spend this essential time with their children, and companies should create a supportive culture to maximize the positive impact of paternity leave.
FAQ - Frequently asked questions at a glance
During this period, the employer covers the compensation and bears the costs. This time is considered special leave and thus has no influence on the legally mandated vacation days.
Generally, there is an entitlement to 10 working days, equivalent to 2 weeks. After that, parental leave can be taken.
Paternity leave pertains to the initial phase after the birth of a child. Parental leave, on the other hand, refers to the subsequent period, which is significantly longer.