This federal subsidy provides financial assistance to parents. Its purpose is to substitute a portion of a parent’s lost income when they take a leave of absence following the birth of their child. Both fathers and mothers are eligible to receive the parental allowance for up to 14 months in total following the birth of their child. Furthermore, this period can be divided up between both parents. The parental allowance accounts for 67 percent of the employee’s lost net income, but may not exceed 1,800 euros per month. Recipients receive a slightly lower percentage (but no less than 65 percent) if their net income exceeded 1,200 euros per month in the year prior to the child’s birth. Parents who were unemployed before their child’s birth receive a base parental allowance of 300 euros. Single parents who receive the parental allowance to offset their lost monthly income and have no second income to rely on are eligible to receive the full 14-month subsidy.
The parental allowance was introduced on 1 January 2007 as a replacement for the child-raising allowance for all children born prior to this date.
Mothers and fathers are eligible for the parental allowance if they:
- care for and raise their children after birth by themselves
- work no longer than 32 hours per week
- live together with their children in a common household
- permanently or habitually reside in the Federal Republic of Germany
Citizens of EU/EEA member states and Switzerland are generally entitled to receive the parental allowance in accordance with EU law, provided they are employed or reside in Germany.
Other foreign nationals are generally entitled to receive the allowance if their residence permit and work visa are likely to result in permanent residency and long-term access to the labour market in Germany.
The family subsidy Elterngeld Plus applies to all children born after 15 July 2015. This new type of allowance serves as an income supplement for parents who wish to return to work earlier on a part-time basis. Working parents can receive the Elterngeld Plus allowance for twice the number of months as provided by the normal parental allowance. In other words, one parental allowance month is equivalent to two Elterngeld Plus months. Couples, who share the responsibilities of parenting and working, are eligible to receive 14 months of Elterngeld Plus each.
After receiving the parental allowance, parents may claim the so-called “partnership bonus” if both work between 24 and 32 hours per week. This programme entitles both partners to receive an additional four months of Elterngeld Plus benefits.
Single parents are permitted to claim Elterngeld Plus and the partnership bonus to an equal degree. The requirements pertaining to sole custody and the right to determine one’s place of residence have been removed from the legal statutes.
Application and assistance
To receive the parental allowance and Elterngeld Plus, you must submit a written application to the Office for Children, Young People and Families of the city of Münster.
You can obtain further information about the parental allowance, Elterngeld Plus, eligibility requirements and application procedures from the Familienportal of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs.
If you have any questions, please contact the Family Service Office. For information regarding international scholarship recipients and specific questions about legal rights of foreigners, please contact the Welcome Centre at the International Office of the University of Münster.