Parental leave; consulting


Mothers and fathers who are in an employment relationship are entitled to parental leave. Employees may claim parental leave to care for their

  • their child (in the absence of custody, with the consent of the parent with custody),
  • of the child of a father who has not yet been validly recognized as the father or whose application for paternity establishment has not yet been decided upon, with the consent of the custodial mother,
  • of a child of the spouse or registered partner, with the consent of the custodial parent,
  • of a child they have taken into full-time care, with the consent of the custodial parent,
  • of adopted children,
  • of a child they have taken in with a view to adoption,
  • of a sister or niece or of a grandchild, brother, nephew in case of serious illness, severe disability or death of their parents,
  • of their grandchild, if one of the child's parents is a minor or is in education or training which began before the child reached the age of 18; in this case, grandparents are entitled to parental leave only if neither of the child's parents claims parental leave themselves.

In order to be entitled to parental leave, the following conditions must also be met:

  • The beneficiary or the beneficiary lives with the child in the same household,
  • cares for and raises the child him/herself; support from third parties - e.g. au pair help - does not exclude the entitlement,
  • does not work more than 30 hours per week (from September 1, 2021: 32 hours per week) on average per month during the parental leave.

The employer must be notified immediately of any change with regard to the aforementioned requirements.

Parental leave may be taken, also pro rata, by each parent alone or by both parents together. Parental leave shall not exceed three years for each parent per child. In the case of the mother, the period of maternity leave after the birth shall be deducted from the three years. Parental leave can begin at the earliest with the birth of the child, in the case of the mother at the earliest following maternity leave, and ends at the latest on the day before the child's 8th birthday. Within this time frame, parents are generally free to determine the start and end of their parental leave. Between the child's 3rd and 8th birthday, however, only part of the parental leave can be taken. During this period, a (second) portion of up to 12 months can be taken for children born by June 30, 2015, and even up to 24 months for births after July 1, 2015, without the employer's consent being required.

Each parent may distribute his or her parental leave over up to three periods; distribution over additional periods is possible only with the employer's consent. The employer may refuse to grant a third period of parental leave within eight weeks of receipt of the application for urgent operational reasons if this period is to be between the child's third birthday and the child's eighth birthday.

In principle, parental leave can be taken independently of the receipt of parental allowance.

During parental leave, there is protection against dismissal, i.e. the employer may not terminate the employment relationship. Only in special cases can a termination be declared permissible by the trade supervisory authorities(Gewerbeaufsichtsämter). Protection against dismissal begins when parental leave is requested, but no earlier than eight weeks before the intended start of parental leave up to the child's third birthday, and no earlier than 14 weeks before the start of parental leave between the child's third birthday and the child's eighth birthday. The employee, on the other hand, may terminate the employment relationship even during parental leave in compliance with the notice periods(protection against dismissal), but only at the end of the parental leave with a special notice period of three months.

Membership in the statutory health insurance continues during the period of receipt of state child-raising allow ance or parental allowance and as long as parental leave is taken. No contributions are levied from the state child-raising allowance or parental allowance itself.

When deciding whether to transfer parental leave and, if so, for how long, please note that a compulsory insurance relationship with the Federal Employment Agency(unemployment insurance) only exists for as long as a child under the age of three is being brought up. If you transfer more than one year of parental leave, this may have a negative impact on your entitlement to unemployment benefits. A claim to unemployment benefits requires, among other things, that the qualifying period required for this has been fulfilled. This requires that the claimant has been in a compulsory insurance relationship with the Federal Employment Agency (unemployment insurance) for at least twelve months within a framework period of two years before the claim arose. Periods of receipt of maternity benefit and periods of bringing up a child under the age of three are also taken into account as compulsory insurance relationships. Please note that transferring or taking parental leave between the child's third birthday and the completion of the child's eighth year can have a negative effect on your entitlement to unemployment benefits. However, you are only subject to compulsory insurance if you were already subject to compulsory insurance immediately before the start of the maternity benefit or the parental leave, or if you received an income replacement benefit under employment promotion law.

In pension insurance, since the 1992 Pension Reform Act, three years of bringing up children born from 1992 onwards have been recognized with one earning point each in statutory pension insurance. Since January 1, 2019, 30 months of child-raising time can be credited for a child born before 1992.

Before transferring parental leave, advice may also be sought in this regard.

In the case of an adopted child and children in adoption or full-time care, parental leave may be taken for a maximum of three years from the date of admission, but no longer than until the child reaches the age of eight.

Parental leave for the period up to the child's completed third birthday must be requested in writing by the respective parent's employer no later than seven weeks before its commencement (or at shorter notice in the case of urgent reasons) and, in the case of births after 01.07.2015, for the period between the child's third birthday and the child's completed eighth birthday. In the case of parental leave until the child reaches the age of three, a declaration must be made of how long the parental leave will be taken within two years (the third year may be determined later). This declaration is binding. However, a subsequent change is possible with the employer's consent.

During parental leave, part-time work of up to 30 hours per week (from September 1, 2021: 32 hours per week) on average per month is permitted. Part-time work with another employer or self-employment require the consent of the previous employer, which he can only refuse for urgent operational reasons (only in writing within four weeks).

During parental leave, there is a legal claim against the employer for a reduction of the original working hours if

  • an agreement between the employer and the employee on the reduction of working hours is not possible,
  • the employer usually employs more than 15 employees,
  • the employment relationship has existed without interruption for more than six months,
  • the working time is reduced for at least two months to a scope of not less than 15 and not more than 30 hours per week (from September 1, 2021: 32 hours per week) per month,
  • there are no urgent operational reasons to the contrary, and
  • the employer has been notified in writing of the entitlement to a reduction in working hours seven weeks before the child's third birthday and 13 weeks before the child's eighth birthday.

A reduction in working time from the original working time may be claimed twice during the total period of parental leave. The entitlement to two reductions shall remain even if the working time during parental leave was initially reduced by mutual agreement. Consensual parental leave arrangements do not count toward the entitlement to two reductions.

§§ 15-21 Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act

Bavarian Family and Social Affairs Center, Employers

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Status: 03.08.2022

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales

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