Today the Federal Statistical Office published the parental allowance statistics for 2018. While the SPD celebrates the parental allowance due to the new statistics as a huge success, the mainstream media simply repeat the key words of the press release from the Federal Statistical Office on 11.04.2019.
In summary, the main topics are the following:
- In total, around 1.8 million citizens receive parental allowance, an increase of 4% over the previous year.
- Almost one in three mother opts for Parental allowance Plus, compared to only 13% of fathers
- Mothers still have the main focus on parental allowance (apply for more parental allowance months as fathers)
In this post, we'll look at other statistical topics - an analysis:
1) Only 26% of parental allowance recipients claimed Parental allowance plus
Certainly it sounds all great if you can find that almost every third parent requests (30.1% of mothers) parental allowance plus. Overall, however, the reference type Parental Allowance Plus is only lucrative for every fourth applicant.
In our opinion, parental allowance Plus is mainly claimed for two reasons "so little":
a) "Too complex" for the "normal citizen"
There is too much ignorance and uncertainty about the subject. Despite the fact that Parental Allowance Plus has been in existence since 2015, there are many reservations. Again and again we hear that Parental Allowance Plus can only "apply" if you work part-time (confused with a partnership bonus?). In addition, the parental allowance centers often do not adequately share what Parental allowance plus means for parents. We find it very unfortunate that parental allowance agencies do not (can/do not) impart the charge-free income limit.
It therefore requires sufficient preliminary information on this subject, which the official counseling centers are currently unable to offer, mostly because of a shortage of staff.
b)It's not worth it
Parental Allowance Plus does not increase the total parental allowance, but only allows you to earn a (limited) credit-free allowance. In addition, one can request parental leave separately from the parental allowance. This results in a (significant) number of Parental Allowance Recipients that relate your total entitlement with basic parental leave and remain without parental allowance longer parental leave. A corresponding parental time statistics would be interesting and would certainly confirm our guess.
Another positive side effect of this variant is that it allows you to earn additional income directly after receiving the parental allowance, despite parental leave, and at most gets "problems" with the social insurance. An additional condition for this would of course still be that the employer has agreed to a sideline or self-employment.
2) Partnership bonus months are hardly claimed
Overall, only 6.8% of parental allowance recipients have made use of the partnership bonus. In our opinion, the conditions and the associated bureaucracy are disproportionately high. The risk of not being able to fulfill the minimum working time due to an accident, illness or other unexpected life event, which can sometimes lead to enormous recoveries, is too high for many parents.
Interestingly enough, 27.4% of fathers use the partnership bonus. The regional differences are in our opinion also very worth mentioning. If, for example, almost every fifth (18.3%) application for parental leave in Berlin is claimed with the bonus months, the partner bonus months in Saarland (2.9%) or in Rhineland-Palatinate (3.2%) are hardly claimed.
3) Mothers receive on average only half
Fathers achieved an average payout of € 1,197 per parental allowance month in 2018. In contrast, there is an average payout of "only" 599, - EUR for mothers. The average "parental net income" for fathers was 2,097,- EUR per month in the assessment period, for mothers, however, only an average of 1,452,- EUR.
Some analysts may see a so-called "GenderPayGap" here, but we would like to deliberately focus on other factors:
First, it should be noted that the main focus of the Parental Allowance subscriber lies with the mothers. This results in a much larger comparison mass than with the fathers. Surely, this statistic also implies that the parental allowance of the mothers for the second or third child turns out to be much lower than for the first one, because the exclusion facts only reach the 14th month of age of the older sibling and many mothers thereby reach the next child during the assessment period submit a (significantly) lower assessment base. Finally, according to the latest statistics, exactly 50% of mothers have 2 or more children in the household. The 10% sibling bonus does not usually make up for that loss in our opinion.
In addition, and this is explicitly just a guess on our part, fathers are likely to be older than mothers at birth in many cases and are thus longer in working life, which gives them a higher standard of assessment. At the moment we could not find a reliable study, only the numbers of the average age in parental allowance speak for it. According to the study, men are on average 34.8 years old at parental allowance and women are 31.0 years old.
4) Parental allowance is too low
Certainly we can be very grateful in Germany for the state support. Compared to other (even industrial) nations, we have a "solid" social system and invest a lot of the household in social allowances.
But when the question arises as to why so few fathers claim parental allowance, we think that can be answered in one sentence.
The parental allowance amount is too low.
In total, more than one in four fathers (28.3%) is entitled to the maximum amount, which is why the replacement rate of the parental allowance in these cases is often considerably less than 65%.
If a father has a pre-natal parental allowance of 4,000,- EUR, he would receive 2,600,- EUR parental allowance per month without the maximum amount. Currently he would get 1,800,- EUR, which corresponds to a replacement rate of only 45%.
We hypothesize that the repatriation rate as well as the period of service of fathers would increase significantly if the maximum allowance was adjusted. In addition, the maximum amount has not been raised since the introduction of the parental allowance on 01.01.2007. If only the inflation rate is taken into account, the parental allowance ceiling would have to rise by 15.7%. Then the maximum amount would be 2.082,- EUR. Basically, the parental allowance will be cheaper for the state year by year.
The detailed statistics can be found for further information here.
The parental allowance rules can be complicated. Make it easy and, like many other parents, use our services to get the most out of your parental allowance. We offer you many possibilities to make your application for parental leave as easy and uncomplicated as possible: