Understanding Maternity Leave in Germany: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats

Updated on
June 6, 2024

As an expat living or moving to Germany, understanding your rights and entitlements when it comes to maternity leave is crucial. Maternity leave in Germany is regulated by law and provides significant protection for mothers who wish to take time off work to care for their child. In this article, we'll take a closer look at maternity leave in Germany and what expats need to know.

Eligibility for Maternity Leave

All employed mothers in Germany are entitled to maternity leave, regardless of their nationality or residency status. Self-employed mothers are also eligible for maternity leave if they are registered with the German social security system.

To be eligible for maternity leave, mothers must have been employed for at least 12 months before the expected date of birth. Additionally, mothers must have paid contributions to the German social security system for at least 90 days in the last year.

Length of Maternity Leave

Mothers in Germany are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave. Maternity leave can start up to six weeks before the expected date of birth and must start no later than the day after the birth.

Mothers who give birth to more than one child are entitled to two additional weeks of maternity leave for each additional child. Additionally, mothers of premature or disabled children may be entitled to an extension of their maternity leave.

Maternity Allowance

During maternity leave, mothers in Germany are entitled to receive maternity allowance from their health insurance provider. Maternity allowance is designed to replace a portion of the mother's income during the leave period.

The amount of maternity allowance that mothers receive depends on their income and can range from 300 euros to a maximum of 1,800 euros per month. Maternity allowance is tax-free and is paid directly to the mother's bank account.

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Returning to Work

After maternity leave in Germany is over, mothers are guaranteed the right to return to their job. This means that their employer must provide them with the same or a comparable position as they had before the leave period started.

If a mother decides not to return to work after maternity leave, she must give her employer at least seven weeks' notice before the end of the leave period.

Protection Against Dismissal

In Germany, pregnant women and women on maternity leave are protected against dismissal. Employers are not allowed to terminate a woman's employment during pregnancy or maternity leave, except in cases of gross misconduct.

Additionally, women who return to work after maternity leave are protected against dismissal for a certain period of time. This protection period varies depending on the length of the maternity leave and can range from two to six months.

Childcare Options

After maternity leave in Germany, mothers have the option to take parental leave to care for their child. Parental leave is available to both parents and can be taken until the child reaches the age of three.

During parental leave, parents are entitled to receive parental allowance, which is a financial benefit provided by the German government. Parental allowance can be received for up to 14 months and can be split between both parents.

Maternity Leave in Germany: Your Top 5 FAQs Answered

1. How long is maternity leave in Germany?

Mothers in Germany are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave. Maternity leave can start up to six weeks before the expected date of birth and must start no later than the day after the birth.

2. Can fathers take maternity leave in Germany?

Fathers in Germany are entitled to take parental leave, which can be taken until the child reaches the age of three. However, maternity leave can only be taken by the mother.

3. How much maternity allowance will I receive in Germany?

The amount of maternity allowance that mothers receive depends on their income and can range from 300 euros to a maximum of 1,800 euros per month.

4. Can I be dismissed while on maternity leave in Germany?

No, pregnant women and women on maternity leave are protected against dismissal in Germany. Employers are not allowed to terminate a woman's employment during pregnancy or maternity leave, except in cases of gross misconduct.

5. Can I extend my maternity leave in Germany?

Mothers of premature or disabled children may be entitled to an extension of their maternity leave in Germany. Additionally, mothers who give birth to more than one child are entitled to two additional weeks of maternity leave for each additional child.

Conclusion

Maternity leave in Germany provides significant protection for mothers who wish to take time off work to care for their child. As an expat living or moving to Germany, understanding your rights and entitlements when it comes to maternity leave is crucial. By following this guide, expats can ensure that they receive the benefits and protections that they are entitled to. If you have any questions or concerns about maternity leave in Germany, it's recommended that you seek advice from an experienced employment lawyer or consultant.

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