Maternity leave and the law in Germany

Info about your rights

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About maternity leave, take it from the pregnant lady (hmmm, maybe I should watch my back around here...):

-You get 14 weeks fully paid leave in total. 6 weeks before the estimated birth, 8 weeks after.

-Your insurance company pays 13 Euro a day for your time off work during these 14 weeks. Your company pays the rest of your salary. I'm not sure about whether the company is obligated to pay anything if it is under a certain size, I think not but may be wrong.

-You are ABLE to take up to 3 years "Elternzeit," which can be divided between mother and father if you so wish, but your company pays nothing during this time. It only guarantees that your job will be open to you if you choose to take this time off.

-You are eligible to receive "Erziehungsgeld" from the government (300 Euro a month) if the combined income of both parents is under 30,000 Euro or under 23,000 for a parent raising the child alone. This is valid only if one parent works 30 hours or less per week and is only valid for the first 6 months of the child's life. After that, you are only eligible for this if you earn less than 16,500 Euro combined, or 13,500 alone. This goes for the following 18 months.

Well, those are the basics, and honestly, I'm thankful that things work this way for the preggos. Especially when I hear from people in the US who are not sure how they are going to pull through after the baby's born, and are relying on prayer, the mercy of the Lord and whatever else to get them through.

I do agree, though, it is tough on a company to have to pay 14 weeks salary minus a measly 13 Euro a day, and that could be re-distributed to be a bit more fair to the employer.
I think that in the US you are guaranteed your job back after 6 months total or something like that, but you aren't paid. You could cash in your sick leave, your vacation days, etc. and get paid for part of it that way, but in no way is your employer responsible to pay your time off for having a kid. Government assistance can come but it might only be if you are single, not working. It depends on the State you are in.

Conversly, my landlord here co-owns a computer virus buster company. They work on internet security and are about a 10 MAN operation. He said that he would NEVER hire a woman because if they got pregnant they would cost him so much money. He accepts their applications but seriously doesn't consider them unless they are a limited contract hire and especially doesn't consider them if they are mid 30's.
I agree that the maternity benefits OUS are much better, but it depends on the company in the US rather than the country OUS. The company I work for in the US is ranked #3 for family benefits mainly because of the maternity benefits. I got one month off before dd was born (with pay) as well as 6 weeks paid afterwards. I took an additional 6 weeks unpaid. Now, I am on a 3 year maternal leave of absence. I am guaranteed my job when I return in a year. Everyone I talk to says that these benefits sound almost EUROPEAN to them. I'm lucky to work for such a great company. It's Eli Lilly and Company, by the way. I've never heard of a US company bending so far backwards for the employees. It's a gem to find such a company. But you're right, it's not a US phenomenon, it's the company that provides such benefits.

I am a pretty reasonable person.. but I do not speak fluent German and this causes a major problem when trying to figure my way through German agencies... I went to the Arbeitsamt to get off my "mother leave" and was told that I was not allowed to register at the employment office till I had a kindergarten spot... my daughter is on several reserve lists but so far no openings... then I called this morning the number that they arbeitsamt gave me..saying that I have to talk to this agency from now on... because of my mommy status... and when I called I can not understand the guy who is talking to me... he says he cannot help me with a kindergarten spot.. he doesnt know what I am talking about... so no I just want to scream... I am supposed to go through this office at the sozialamt.. but I do not understand the process... at all.

Is there an agency that helps non German speaking people go through this crap... or is there someone who wants to donate a few hours to help me weave my way through this nightmare... I just want to go out and work... so this is incredibly frustrating.

Any help is appreciated.

profundo, there are no guarantees on getting your job back in the US except under the Family Medical Leave Act, which allows you 12 WEEKS unpaid leave for having a baby or caring for a sick family member.

This only applies to people who work full-time for companies with more than 50 employees. You also have to have worked for the employer for at least a year to get the guaranteed benefit.

Other than that, there are no federal guarantees for employees in the US to get time off and retain their jobs. Individual companies are free to give better benefits, of course, and many do to stay competitive in the employment market.
I'm here on a US contract (halfway between "trailing spouse" and "real" expat -- my husband and I work for the same company, and they agreed to give me a job here as part of the deal of us agreeing to come here, even though he's the "main attraction").

Anyway, does anyone know whether the German laws on maternity benefits and job guarantees apply to expats?
I would imagine that they do only if you have a German contract. If you are on a US contract then US benefits most likely apply.
When I was an expat, the only German rules that applied for me were bank holidays...otherwise I was held under all rules as if I still worked in the states...probably best to check with HR.
Is this still the situation with the paid maternity leave as the last post is from 2006 and there were a few health care reforms since then. We are planning to move to Germany and have a baby and I'd be greatful if anybody cal tell me what to expect. Thank you in advance
Erziehungsgeld ceased to exist as of 1 January 2007. Now the scheme is called Elterngeld and it's offered to each parent who takes Elternzeit (see other threads on Elternzeit on Toytown - this has been explained thorougly there). Check there about your eligibility, too - it may not be possible to appear on the German scene and collect Elterngeld without having first been employed for a certain eligibility period (I'm not sure - like I say - search and doublecheck). There's no clause about parental earnings and eligibility now (it's not just for low-earners but rather for everyone now), but the amount of monthly support the stay-at-home parent gets depends on whether s/he has been gainfully employed in Germany (or elsewhere in the EU) and the amount of the pay s/he is foregoing in order to stay home (that is, his/her normal salary in the 12 months prior to birth). There is a 12-month limit on Elterngeld for one parent or a 14-month combined limit for two parents. Elternzeit is still up to 3 years of job protection, but aside from the period in the first year when Elterngeld might be paid, the rest is unpaid.

Dan, if you're coming to Germany and plan to have a baby right away (from your age, it looks like you'd better get busy), I don't see why you would bother getting a job until after the birth. You will have to inform your employer as soon as you know you are pregnant. If you're in your 6-month Probezeit (trial employment period), you'll likely get let go right away.

See all the other threads about difficulty with finding child care for kids under three, etc. Having a baby in Germany is pretty typical for young short-timer ex-pat couples, especially if the wife is the trailing spouse, but it doesn't lend itself to combination with her employment very well.
My husband & I will be moving to Germany next year & we are also planning on starting a family. Have there been any changes to the law since the post in 2004? Thank you!
Yes, see the two posts above yours (from earlier this month). A search of the TT archives for Elterngeld or Elternzeit will lead you to recent, detailed discussions of the current situation.
Can anyone help? I have a wife in the UK having a baby any day now and I keep getting mixed advice on what I am allowed as the father in leave and anyone help?
For the birth? Depends on your tariff agreement, usually one or two days (paid or unpaid) on the day of the birth. Outside that, no legal entitlement.

You're not entitled to either Elternzeit or Elterngeld afterwards because the law stipulates that you have to live in a single household with the child (§1, §15 BEEG).
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