Employed mothers and fathers are eligible for parental leave if he/she is the main caretaker of the child, lives in the same household as the child and his/her weekly working hours do not exceed 30 hours during parental leave. As such, student parents who work alongside their studies may also apply for parental leave. Additionally, leave of absence from studies for reason of child-rearing or parental leave is to be treated analogous to parental leave in regular employment (§61, Sect. 3, LGH).
As long as the employment is subject to German labour law, parental leave can be stipulated in any kind of employment (including temporary jobs, part-time contracts and mini-jobs). Until the child is 3 years old there is an unrestricted entitlement to parental leave. Afterwards, parental leave can be extended for another year at the most and only in agreement with the employer, provided that a total of three years of parental leave are not exceeded (§15 Sect. 1-3, BEEG).
Important: You have to notify your employer of the time period of parental leave in writing at least 7 weeks before its planned start. The same deadline has to be met, if you want to reduce your weekly working hours during parental leave.
An employee can ask for a reduction of his working hours twice during parental leave, provided that:
- the contractually agreed working hours are to be reduced to 15-30 weekly hours for at least three months.
- the claim has been made in writing at least 8 weeks before.
- there are no conflicting operational reasons.
- employment in the same business has lasted at least six months without interruption.
Law of Parental Pay and Parental Leave (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz)
Please note: Time limitations on fixed-term contracts are not extended automatically and not in every case after parental leave. In consultation with the employer, an extension is possible, because an employment of up to 30 working hours per week is permissible during parental leave.