Parenting leave

All working mothers and fathers have the right to take parenting leave.

The law allows for parenting leave in total of 3 years; parents may also take (unpaid) leave of absence from work to care for their children. If you receive parental benefit, it will not be affected by parenting leave. For births up to 30 June 2015, a proportion of 12 months of the parenting leave may be taken until the child’s 8th birthday, if the employer agrees. For births on or after 1 July 2015, parents may take up to 24 months of parenting leave between the child’s 3rd and 8th birthdays. The employer’s consent is not required.

Parenting leave may be divided up per parent in three time periods. However the third parenting 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 parenting leave, the employer is deemed to have approved the application if it is not rejected within a set time.

If the child to be cared for is younger than three, employers must be notified of parenting leave seven weeks prior to its beginning; thereafter the notification period is 13 weeks.

The relevant law Elternzeitgesetz may also apply to minimal employment (minijobs). This must be determined case by case.

Under the law governing institutions of higher education (Landeshochschulgesetz § 61 (3)) students may take up to 6 free semesters per child. Four of those semesters (24 months) may be used in the period between the child’s third and eighth birthdays. Further information on Regulations on free semesters available on the Family Office website, and on the relevant Student Administration page. For information relating to financial support, see our relevant pages.

BMFSF brochure: Elterngeld, ElterngeldPlus und Elternzeit - Das Bundeselterngeld - und Elternzeitgesetz

Further information: BMFSFJ.