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Parental allowance and Corona crisis

15.06.2020

The corona pandemic has changed the status quo for many people. The Federal Ministry for Families has attempted to compensate some serious situations of families with various short-term changes in the law.

The Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Dr. Franziska Giffey, makes the following comments:
"Despite the Corona crisis, parents and those who will soon become parents do not need to worry about parental allowance. It's crisis-proof. With the parental allowance reform, we are sending a clear signal: even in the Corona crisis, mothers and fathers can rely on Germany's best-known and most popular family benefits. With the law passed today, we are giving parents in systemically important professions the opportunity to make up for the time spent with their children after the crisis. We prevent parents from receiving less parental allowance or having to repay part of the benefit if they have to work more or less than planned due to the crisis. [...]." ¹
¹ Minister for Family Affairs Dr. Giffey at https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/aktuelles/alle-meldungen/elterngeld-wird-kurzfristig-angepasst/154564 (as of 17.06.2020)

The rules on parental allowance can be very complicated. Let us give you professional advice. Here you can access our parental allowance consultation service.

This article describes the concrete measures taken for families in the context of the Corona crisis:

Adjustment of the parental allowance due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Families should not suffer any disadvantages in terms of parental allowance due to the corona crisis in parental allowance. With the law "Measures in parental allowance in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic", which was approved by the Federal Council on 15 May 2020, the legislator basically makes three areas of parental allowance more flexible:

1) Postponement of parental benefit months

Normally, you can only claim basic parental benefit until the child is 14 months old. If you work in a systemic relevant profession, this limit does not apply to you anymore. You can also apply for the basic parental allowance months after the 14th month of life, but no later than June 2021. This limit can be extended if the crisis is prolonged.

Example:
The child was born on 05.03.2019. The father applied for basic parental allowance for the months of life 13 and 14 (= 05.03.2020 to 04.05.2020). Due to the Corona crisis, his employer (hospital) asked him to give up parental leave. He would now like to take parental leave in the months of life 23 and 24 (= 05.03.2021 to 04.05.2021). Due to the amendment law he can postpone his parental allowance.

Important notice:
Normally, parental allowances for older siblings can only be excluded from the second child's parental allowance if they were taken within the first 14 months of the older child's life (for more information: second child's parental allowance).

Currently, calendar months with parental allowance can also be excluded for an older sibling if it was taken after month 14 of the older sibling's life. Whether ElterngeldPlus months are also affected is not known to us. It is obvious that only the shifts caused by the crisis are actually taken into account here.

2) Relaxation of the partnership bonus months

The partnership bonus months, which promote parallel part-time work by parents, do not lapse if parents are unable to keep the working hours indicated in the original application due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The information given at the time of application applies.

Example:
The child was born on 05.03.2019. The parents apply for the partnership bonus months for the life months 13 to 16 (= 05.03.2020 to 04.07.2020). Due to the Corona crisis the father could not reach the 25 hours (short-time work). The mother, in turn, worked more than 30 hours a week because she works in a systemic relevant industry. Normally, they would have to pay back the parental allowance of the partnership bonus months (at least €1,200), but due to the Covid 19 pandemic adjustments, it is not the actual hours worked and additional earnings that count, but fictitiously the values that were available when the application was submitted (the original will is implemented).

It is still questionable to what extent the relaxation will be sufficient. If the partnership bonus months only start later than originally planned, for example due to the corona crisis (a place in a day-care centre can only be offered at a later date), there is the problem that there is no legal provision for a gap from the age of 15 months and that the more favourable arrangements no longer apply if a postponement is granted, because the original intention to apply has already been changed due to corona.

Here, the administrative practice - hopefully parent-friendly - must offer solutions for those affected.

3) Exclusion of months with short-time work benefits and unemployment

Calendar months in which parents have received income replacement benefits such as short-time work benefits or unemployment allowance due to Corona can now be excluded from the calculation of parental allowance. Self-employed persons who, due to the corona crisis in 2020, have a lower profit in 2020 than in 2019, can postpone the assessment period to 2019 (if the child is born in 2021).

Example: short-time work:
The child was born on 05.08.2020. The assessment period is August 2019 up to and including July 2020, and short-time work benefits were received in the calendar months from March up to and including May 2020. The assessment period is now split up as follows:

May 2019 to February 2020 and June 2020 to July 2020.

Example Self-employed:
The child was born on 05.03.2021 The assessment period is generally the calendar year 2020. However, due to the crisis, the taxable profit in 2020 is €5000 lower than in 2019. The applicant can apply for the calendar year 2019 to be taken as the assessment period.

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Other important information on family benefits due to Corona

There are several other family benefits in Germany besides the parental allowance. The following other changes in the legal situation should be of interest to families:

1) Child bonus

Families receive a one-off child bonus of 300 euros for each child for whom there is a claim to child benefit in at least one month in 2020. The bonus does not count towards social benefits such as basic income support or advance maintenance payments and is not taken into account as income in the case of the child supplement and housing allowance. Payment is made automatically and usually in two tranches (with payment of the September and October child allowance).

Children born in 2020 but who did not participate in the regular payment (for example, because they were born in November) will probably receive the bonus as a one-off payment with the first child benefit payment.

However, parents with a good income do not benefit from the bonus in the end, as the 300€ "extra child benefit" counts as received child benefit in the family benefit equalisation (consideration of the child allowance) in the income tax assessment.

2) Support for single parents

Single parents enjoy a temporary increase in the so-called relief amount for single parents in income tax (limited to the years 2020 and 2021) from currently 1908 Euros to 4008 Euros. The relief amount is an additional tax allowance which is intended to take into account the special burdens of single parents. For the tax benefit, single parents do not have to wait until their tax return. If single parents have income tax class 2 in their income tax deduction features, they can benefit from the relief in the current year 2020.

3) Continued payment of wages due to school and kindergarten closure

Schools and daycare centres were closed during the Corona pandemic. Depending on the situation in the respective federal state, the facilities reopened. Parents who continue to look after children and are therefore unable to work are entitled to continued payment of wages on the basis of the Infection Protection Act.

The compensation corresponds to approximately 67 percent of the loss of earnings incurred (maximum 2016 euros) for up to six weeks. On 28 May 2020, the Bundestag decided to extend the period of paid sick leave from six to up to ten weeks for each person with custody rights. In the future, there will be a total entitlement to up to 20 weeks of continued remuneration - ten weeks for mothers and ten weeks for fathers. For single parents the entitlement is also extended to a maximum of 20 weeks. The maximum period of ten or 20 weeks does not have to be taken in one go, but can be spread over several months. The employer is responsible for paying the compensation and can submit a corresponding application to the competent state authority.

The conditions for compensation are,

  • that working parents have to look after children under the age of twelve because it is not possible to look after them otherwise and,
  • that flextime/overtime credits have already been exhausted.

4) Emergency child benefit supplement

Families with low income can receive a monthly child allowance of up to 185 euros per child. Whether and how much the KiZ is paid depends on several factors - above all on your own income, the cost of living, the size of your family and the age of your children.

The calculation basis for the child benefit supplement is normally the average income of the last six months before the application is submitted. In order to enable families to benefit from the child benefit supplement who had to accept short-term loss of earnings due to the Corona pandemic, an emergency child benefit supplement came into force on April 1. As a result, families no longer have to provide proof of income for the last six months when they apply for the KiZ, but only for the last month before the application is made. In addition, parents no longer have to provide information about their assets if they do not have substantial assets.

This regulation is valid until 30 September 2020, so it may be worthwhile to submit an application in April if you already had a significant loss of earnings in March.

A further adjustment: If you already receive the highest possible child supplement of 185 euros per child, your permit will automatically be extended for a further six months without any further review.

FAQ: Parental allowance and Corona

Will I be discriminated against in parental allowance because of Corona?

No, with the law "Measures in parental allowance in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic" the legislator has created regulations that do not disadvantage parents due to the crisis.

Short-time work and parental allowance?

In the assessment period, calendar months with short-time work compensation can be excluded. During the reference period, the gross income relevant for parental allowance is reduced because of the short-time work allowance, which means that you are entitled to a higher parental allowance.

Partnership bonus hours per week not fulfilled?

If you have not fulfilled the minimum weekly working hours due to the crisis (Corona) or have exceeded the maximum working hours in the partnership bonus months, it is possible that you will still receive the partnership bonus months as planned.

Too complicated? - Our tip

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:

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