having_a_baby_in_germany

If I had a euro for every time someone requested I write a post about having a baby in Germany I would have about 8 EUR. I have delayed this post because , well, I can’t seem to touch my laptop without my daughter trying to eat it and there is so much information I’m afraid that I will miss something . I want this blog to not only be entertaining but resourceful, so here goes nothing.

You went and got yourself knocked up in Germany of all places.

Don’t panic! Due to the shrinking population of ethnic Germans the German government offers parents a generous amount of benefits to convince them to breed. The government really encourages having a baby in Germany because your bundle of joy will hopefully be a future tax payer and the foundation of its economy.

The benefits of having a baby in Germany start as soon as you tell your employer that you are pregnant. Once you inform your employer that you are expecting it is pretty difficult to get fired and it starts what is known as maternity protection. There has to be pretty extenuating circumstances to fire an expectant mother so go ahead slack off, take long lunches and leave at 3.  Take the absolute piss!

Mothers must take a mandatory 6 weeks off before the scheduled birth and 8 weeks after. If you have complications, multiples or a c-section the time may be extended to 12 weeks after the birth. During this time you are entitled to  Muttershaftsgeld which is 100 % of your salary paid mostly by your employer. Your public health insurance kicks in 13 EUR a day and you will receive that payment in a lump-sum directly into your bank account.

The baby is here….now what?

After 8 weeks after the birth you can either return to work (srsly who would do that?) or take what is known as Elternzeit, paternity leave. Elternzeit can be taken by both parents. During paternity leave you have full employment protection. It can be taken for a total of 3 years up until the child’s 8th birthday (If you chose to save a year for later this has to be discussed and with your employer). Yes that’s right you can take up to 3 years off of work to do parental stuff.  Many parents take off one year and then work 2 years part time others take the full three year break and then return to work pregnant again. HA!

During Elternzeit you are entitled to a parental allowance called Elterngeld. Elterngeld is paid by the government and partially replaces lost wages while you are home with your child. Elterngeld can be paid for up to 12 or 14 months and is equivalent to approx 64% of your income. The 14 months can be split between both parents or taken entirely by a single parent.

This kid is eating me out of house and home!!

The German government gives an additional benefit to families regardless of income or need called Kindergeld. Kindergeld is intended to offset some of the cost associated with having a baby in Germany. Parents residing with a child in Germany are entitled to this as long as you are not receiving a similar benefit in another country (many EU countries offer their own version of Kindergeld) Kindergeld ranges from 184 EUR to 215 EUR, depending on the number of children per household. It is paid from birth and continues monthly until early adulthood (up to 18 or 25 if still in school)

But wait, there is still more!

Not only are parents offered generous employment leave but daycare  and education is extremely affordable and in many cases FREE. Daycare is largely subsidized by the government and your contributions are based on your household income. Of course many parents opt for private daycare, schools or universities and those come with additional fees.

Keep in mind with all these benefits comes PAPERWORK. The one thing Germans love more than potential tax payers is friggin paperwork! In my district there was a six moth delay in the payment of Elterngeld because the application process is cumbersome. (THE STRUGGLE! ) There is a lot of hoop jumping and tail chasing but in the end it is all worth it. I am currently in my 11 month of Paternity Leave and plan to return to work in July. I can’t express how blessed I feel to have had all this time to share with my daughter.

So that’s my first crack. Let me know if I left anything out or if you have questions.

Additional resources for having a baby in Germany in English:

Parental Leave

Parental Allowance

Children’s Money

Please note that benefits for unemployed, freelance, limited contract and the privately insured vary. Also for many of these benefits you have to have a valid residence permit to be eligible.

Happy Breeding!

 

 

 

 

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12 Responses to Having a Baby in Germany – Parental Benefits Explained, Sorta

  1. Hi Nicole,
    I’ve been enjoying your vlogs and now your blog! Thanks for sharing. One question, so I’m applying for a job in Berlin, I’m 35 and have been told by doctors we’ll need IVF, hence the clock is ticking loudly. If all goes well, and we relocate to Germany in a few months, how long would I have to work before qualifying for full parental leave rights? I’m trying to time out whether my biological clock can afford to wait! Thanks for any ideas, and I look forward to more blogs :)
    Lani

    • Nicole says:

      Im not sure. For some reason 3 years pops into my mind but I could totally be making that up. I am sure there is a time period that a non EU citizen needs to pay into the system in order to benefit from it. I do know that getting pregnant during your probation time can be problamtic. During this time (usually 6 months) an employer can terminate your employment with little to now reasoning. So they could fire you for being pregnant but not state as much.

  2. Bel says:

    Wow, that is amazing! I am in the UK and parental leave options are very limiting and certainly does not support many women to stay out of work for the full 12 months because you don’t get paid at all for that last few months of leave in most places. From the outset I think that system in Germany helps to make families stronger and I hope it continues to work well for you and your family despite the mountains of paperwork you said is involved!

  3. Ha! Happy Breeding. LOL…

    Those are pretty remarkable benefits. We have similar benefits here…

  4. Carmen Caroco says:

    Hi, thank you for your post. is really helpful :) with so many paperwork we get confused.
    I have a question, because I cannot find anywhere. Regarding all this paperwork, what are the timings to apply it. For example, I’m expecting baby in End of December this year, but I don’t know when I should apply for Elterngeld. Is before or after the birth?

    Thank you

    • Nicole Is The New Black says:

      Hi there!
      Thanks for the comment. All the documents can be found online, at least in Berlin. print them out and go over them to make sure you have everything you need. After the baby was born someone from the local office came by and made sure I had everything for the elterngeld application which is pages long. You cant apply for the benefits until AFTER the baby is born. You need to get the baby’s birth certificate. You will get a German birth certificate, an international one (if requested) and a document to include in your kindergeld and elterngeld application.
      I am not sure where you are but in my case the hospital helped me apply for the birth certificate and then I had to pick it up. You will need your birth certificate and the father’s birth certifcate if you want him to appear on the child’s birth certificate. Depending on what country you are from they may also require an official translation. This is why its important to get all document lined up BEFORe the birth and submit it once you have the BC after your child is here.

  5. Eileena says:

    Hey Nicole! I’d like to know how long you have to be a citizen in order to receive these benefits? Or if you could just share how long you’ve been a citizen in Germany. Thanks!

    • Nicole Is The New Black says:

      HI Eileena I am not a citizen of Germany. I have contributed into the social system (paid German taxes) for 5 years and I have a valid residence permit because I am emplyed by a German employer. Each benefit has a different rules for eligibility. It really depends on how long you have legally lived in Germany and the type of visa you have. For instance if you are employed by a foreign employer and dont pay taxes you may not be eligible for some benefits. Same thing for diplomats or people working for the state department. The easy answer is, its on a case by case basis and I am not well versed in German law.

  6. Swapna says:

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for the information about to be parents in Germany.
    I am expecting my 2nd child in end of March and i have a job offer from June in Berlin. I would like to send my baby to a Tages mutter / Krippe for few months while i work 30 hours / week. Do you have any infromation on where i can find “Staatliche annerkannt Tagesmutter” list so i can search the nearest to my office. I am sorry that this message of mine is not so relevant for the Blog that you have posted but it will be of great help for me. Also we would like to relocate from one Bezirk to another in berlin (near the office) do you have any information if the state provides any help in finding a day care centres for both of my children. I have been calling many Kita’s these days but none seem to have a free place for my 5 year old daughter. Any information is really helpful.

    Thanks for your help

    • Nicole Is The New Black says:

      Hi there. Are you in Berlin yet? I think you should really stress that your child needs German integration considering that they will be 5 and school begins at 6. they will need fluent German in order to learn. I would call my closest Jungeamt. I also know a woman who charges a few to help you find a kita/tagesmutter space. There is also a site kitanetz.de. Some people list open spots there. Good luck. If you are on facebook check out the group expatbabies berlin!

  7. Row says:

    Hi, and thanks for all the information.

    my partner and I want to take advantage of 14 months elternzeit, do you happen to know if we can divide it up in such a way that he can take a month with me as the baby is born then 5 months later only take 2 weeks then Again at a later date another 2 weeks and then finally 2 months together consecutively?

  8. sunday says:

    Hi Nicole, i need your advice on an issue i have at hand, i’m a Ghanian immigrant who have just seek asylum for the past 4 months in germany and was given a 6 months permit to stay, my girl friend got pregant for me and she is from Nederland who also reside in Amsterdam, now she is 8 moths pregnant and she have just come to live here and have her baby here, do i as the father get to have a document to live here to take care of my family, my girlfreind is not german, she is from the Nederland and she just arrived here 2 months ago, please advise me of what to do.
    THANKS

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