The law allows for parental leave in total of three years; parents may also both take (unpaid) leave of absence from work at the same time to care for their children. Receipt of parental benefit is not affected by parental leave. For births up to 30 June 2015, twelve months of the parental leave may be taken in the period up to the child’s eighth birthday provided the employer agrees. For births on or after 1 July 2015, parents may take up to 24 months of parental leave between the child’s third and eighth birthdays. The employer’s consent is no longer required.
Parental leave may be divided up for each parent in three time periods, however the third parental leave period may be refused by an employer with good operational reasons, if it falls between the child’s third and eighth birthdays. If parents wish to work part-time during their parental leave, then the application is automatically approved if the employer does not reject it within a set time.
If the child to be cared for is aged under three years, the employer must be notified of parental leave seven weeks prior to its beginning; thereafter the notification period is 13 weeks.
Whether the relevant law (Elternzeitgesetz) also applies to marginal part-time jobs (minijobs) must be determined case by case.
For births until 31.08.2021 Elterngeld, ElterngeldPlus und Elternzeit - Das Bundeselterngeld - und Elternzeitgesetz und Parental allowance
For births after 01.09.2021 Elterngeld, ElterngeldPlus und Elternzeit - Das Bundeselterngeld - und Elternzeitgesetz
Further information can be found on the BMFSFJ family portal.
The application for parental leave can be found on the website of Department IV Human Resources, Section 2, in the Download ABC.
This seems to contradict the closing sentence of the previous paragraph – can the employer refuse leave or not?
Parental leave and vacation entitlement
The vacation to which staff are entitled for the leave year is reduced by one-twelfth for each full calendar month of parental leave. In other words, if you take parental leave between January 15 and February 15, there is no reduction. But if you take parental leave between January 15 and March 15, your annual leave will reduce by one-twelfth (i.e. to allow for the full calendar month of February). If reduction by parental leave results in a fraction in the annual leave, this is rounded up in favor of the staff member.