Question about Mutterschaftsgeld and Elterngeld

18 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I have searched all the relevant forums but I am struggling to find an up to date or explicit answer to my question.

 

I am Irish, expecting a baby in March 2020. My partner and I are both here for 6-7 years and both have full time, permanent employment contracts. We are trying to figure out how much leave we can take and what salary we will have. My partner would like to take 3 months leave immediately after the birth so we can bring the baby back to our families for a visit.

 

I understand I will receive 100% of my salary in the 8 weeks after the baby is born. As my partner and I will both use the Elternzeit, we will be entitled to 14 months shared.

 

So my question is:

 

Does the Elternzeit start from the day the baby is born? IE (Mutterschutzperiod + Eltenzeit = 14 months) OR is is Mutterschutzperiod + Elternzeit = 16 months) 

 

If the first one then I would receive 2 months at full pay and then 9 months at 67% and he would receive 3 months at 67%

If the second one, I would then receive my full pay for two months and then 11 months at 67% and he would receive 3 months at 67%

 

Thanks in advance!

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The Elternzeit starts from when the child is born.  It is 14 months for both with a single person not able to take more than 12 months. 

 

But the Elterngeld starts after the Mutterschutz.    Elterngeld is 67% up to a maximum of 1,800 Euros per month.  I'm not sure that you get 100% of your salary, as it is aid by the health insurance.  Other would know better than me.

 

Bear in mind, that if you go back to Ireland to visit family that you need to stay registered in Germany (some people might be tempted to deregister to save money!), otherwise you lose your entitlement.

 

Also, bear in mind that you can only start to apply for everything, including Child benefit, after the child is born and there can be extra questions to answer, forms to fill out etc.  So if you are not in the country then make sure you can still get your mail and are contactable.  Otherwise you might then find that there is a delay in receiving payment once you are back (you will get what is due eventually).

 

You should also look at Elternzeit Plus, where you have more flexibility and take longer time for less money and can also work part-time.

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That is good news about the Elterngeld starting after the Mutterschutz. 

 

We will stay around for about a month after the baby is born but good point on being contactable etc, had not thought of that! Trying to get informed and be prepared for the mountain of paper work coming our way 

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46 minutes ago, Santitas said:

Is the Elterngeld on top of the lowered salary or is that factored in?

 

Elterngeld replaces the salary, if someone continues to work, which is allowed for up to 30 hours, this is of course credited - there is then less Elterngeld. 

 

2 hours ago, BB1990 said:

I understand I will receive 100% of my salary in the 8 weeks after the baby is born.

 

How much money expectant mothers receive depends on whether they are insured public or private.  

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21 hours ago, BB1990 said:

I am Irish, expecting a baby in March 2020.

First, congrats! And good luck with the months till then. It's a roller-coaster.

 

Quote

My partner and I are both here for 6-7 years and both have full time, permanent employment contracts. We are trying to figure out how much leave we can take and what salary we will have. My partner would like to take 3 months leave immediately after the birth so we can bring the baby back to our families for a visit.

 

I understand I will receive 100% of my salary in the 8 weeks after the baby is born. As my partner and I will both use the Elternzeit, we will be entitled to 14 months shared.

 

Yup, bear in mind that Mutterschutz is the period 6 weeks before the planned birthdate and 8 weeks after the actual birthdate. If the birth is later, the period is pushed back as necessary; if it's earlier, you still get your planned period. If the baby is premature, very underweight, or there are disabilities, then there are also some other regulations in your favour. Cross that bridge if you get there. During this period, you get 100% of your pay. (This is regulated by the MuSchG, or Musch-gee... B))

 

Thereafter you get Elternzeit + related pay (if you choose to use it!), which as explained above me, replaces your normal pay. As mentioned, Elternzeit is calculated from the actual birthdate of your child. Your Elternzeit period begins after the 8-week Mutterschutz period, to the day. My son was born on the 10th of a month, so one month of Elternzeit is say, October 10th to November 9th.

 

As for salary on Elternzeit, you get ca. 2/3s of your average income from the last financial year. For example, my wife was between jobs for a few months during the relevant period, even though when she gave birth she had been fully employed (with higher pay than her previous job) for several months. She had also been employed for years prior to the job change, but there was still that gap of a few months. But plain shit outta luck for the calculated rate, which was lower than if they considered the last 12 months including her higher paying new job, since they only calculate it once. Oh well, just how it is. So, it depends on your income. If you're filthy stinking rich, you will only get a few hundred euros. The cap is ca. 1800. There can be slight variations depending on your particulars.

 

Visit your friendly local neighbourhood Jugendamt and get the paperwork in advance (a couple months before birth is fine), and fill out as much as you can. Half of it you can only do after the baby is born, but when you're changing diapers and breastfeeding and not sleeping, future you will thank past you. You need info from your tax/finances from the last financial year (in your case 2019). In March/April 2020, it's unlikely you will have yet to receive an answer on your tax return (assuming you file one). But the relevant info is on your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung anyhow.

 

Quote

 

So my question is:

Does the Elternzeit start from the day the baby is born? IE (Mutterschutzperiod + Eltenzeit = 14 months) OR is is Mutterschutzperiod + Elternzeit = 16 months) 

The second reckoning. For you, Mutterschutz is Mutterschutz is Mutterschutz. You get it after the birth whether you want to or not. Your employer would be in seriously deep doo-doo if you did anything work related those first 8 weeks after the birth of your child. Your partner can take Elternzeit from the planned birth date, still your Mutterschutz (you have to book it several weeks advance), but I'm not sure what happens if there is a discrepancy of +/- a few weeks from the actual birth.

 

BTW, that's just paid Elternzeit. There is Elternzeit Plus, as @dj_jay_smith says, which allows working on reduced hours but can be stretched out longer. After the paid period, you can also take unpaid Elternzeit for up to 36 months in total. The first 12 (i.e. paid) of the 36 months must be taken in the first three years of the baby's life. These are the same 12 shared between you and your partner (14, if both take it). The remaining 24 months can be split theoretically any way you (the co-habiting parents) wish between the third and eighth birthday. You get no pay, but your employer is legally obliged to accommodate you and you should return to your job in the same or an "equal" role. Usually you'd negotiate this with your employer in advance, but still it's your right to file the paperwork and let them figure it out.

 

21 hours ago, BB1990 said:

That is good news about the Elterngeld starting after the Mutterschutz. 

 

We will stay around for about a month after the baby is born but good point on being contactable etc, had not thought of that! Trying to get informed and be prepared for the mountain of paper work coming our way 

 

Make your plans, but remember that little diddy about the best laid plans o' mice an' men. At one month, your baby will very much be giving the orders! You may not want to travel if the baby is an unholy crier, if you have stitches or scars in uncomfortable places, there's Wochenfluss, possibly post-baby blues, general stress and fatigue, if breastfeeding is harder than expected (heads up: it can be harder than expected!), if you're using formula milk, or 101 other unexpected things. Then, the thought of being away from home may be overwhelming. There's also the series of mandatory first doctor visits (U1, U2, U3, etc), and your gyno will be wanting to see you too. If you have a midwife (which I highly highly recommend!), this would still be during the period where she visits you regularly. If you have to leave the country, you will also need identity documents, and these take time. Birth certificates involving foreign parent(s), then Kinderreisepass, and so on. If you manage to get all those in the first month, I'd be amazed.

 

Not to say you shouldn't travel, or that I'm doubting your hardiness, but I know that my wife and I certainly had to re-evaluate a lot of short-term plans once our son was here. Two months to find your bearings with a newborn is not unreasonable. Is it possible that you are instead visited by relatives?...

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Thanks a lot for the very detailed answer. Feeling a lot more confident now I understand the process a bit better. Definitely going down the route of a Hebamme and have already begun the search.

 

I guess we are making plans a little early and not factoring in a few things such as the midwife visits, documents and the checkups. A lot to organise and think about in the next months! 

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It is good that you are trying to get organised now.  You have time now to think about these things so use it as after the birth it will be hectic and exhausting.  Unfortunately there are things that can only be done after the birth, so you can only inform yourself and prepare.

 

Getting everything sorted within the first month is possible, we had everything include a passport for our little one within this time period.  Although in our case our daughter had a German passport as my wife is German,  If you need to apply for a foreign passport then it might take longer.  Remember to get an "International birth certificate" to help with this.  It costs a little more but will be in English so you don't have to get it translated.

 

FYI:  Below are the mandatory "Untersuchungen" that have to be done in the first 2 years.

 

U1:  Done after the birth in Hospital

U2:  3 - 10 days old.  Often needs to be done in hospital.  Often done before you take the child home for the first time (depending on how long you stay in)

U3:  3 - 5 weeks old

U4:  3 - 4 months old

U5:  6 - 7 months old

U6:  10 - 12 months old

U7:  21 - 24 years old

 

More info here:

https://www.kindergesundheit-info.de/themen/entwicklung/frueherkennung-u1-u9-und-j1/untersuchungen-u1-bis-u9/die-untersuchungen-u1-bis-u9/

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On 02/08/2019, 13:31:28, BB1990 said:

I understand I will receive 100% of my salary in the 8 weeks after the baby is born. As my partner and I will both use the Elternzeit, we will be entitled to 14 months shared.

 

So my question is:

 

Does the Elternzeit start from the day the baby is born? IE (Mutterschutzperiod + Eltenzeit = 14 months) OR is is Mutterschutzperiod + Elternzeit = 16 months) 

 

If the first one then I would receive 2 months at full pay and then 9 months at 67% and he would receive 3 months at 67%

If the second one, I would then receive my full pay for two months and then 11 months at 67% and he would receive 3 months at 67%

 

On 03/08/2019, 10:31:52, alderhill said:

The second reckoning. For you, Mutterschutz is Mutterschutz is Mutterschutz. You get it after the birth whether you want to or not. Your employer would be in seriously deep doo-doo if you did anything work related those first 8 weeks after the birth of your child. Your partner can take Elternzeit from the planned birth date, still your Mutterschutz (you have to book it several weeks advance), but I'm not sure what happens if there is a discrepancy of +/- a few weeks from the actual birth.

 

Is it though? If I am understanding BB1990 correctly, then it's the first scenario. Mutterschutz is included within Elternzeit.

 

Calculator and some info in German.

 

 

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7 hours ago, theGman said:

Is it though? If I am understanding BB1990 correctly, then it's the first scenario. Mutterschutz is included within Elternzeit.

 

Calculator and some info in German.

 

I did a little more reading. They are two still distinct things, but: it may be less confusing to think of Mutterschutz counted forward from the actual birthdate; Elternzeit counted backwards from the first full year of the child's life (first birthday, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). It is possible to lose or gain time on Mutterschutz. So thinking in those terms, yes, actually, it would be the first reckoning! :wacko: In terms of pay, Mutterschutz is distinct. In terms of returning to work, it is not. Mutterschutz is labour regulation, Elternzeit is a social program.

 

Rather, @BB1990's question is also posed a bit incorrectly, as neither option is quite true. Elternzeit is not counted from the child's birthdate, but (again) backwards from at least it's 1st birthday (or 2nd, 3rd, etc. depending on the length of time taken away). The number of months is not fixed either, as you can stretch it out in a number of ways. Anyhow, 8 weeks Mutterschutz full pay + ca. 14 weeks partner's Elternzeit 2/3s pay + ca. 38 weeks OPs Elternzeit 2/3s pay = 60 weeks, or in total ca. 14 months. However, you need to count by weeks down to the day of the child's birth. Calendar months are irrelevant and confusing.

 

BUT OP also has to consider that if Elternzeit is shared, it is also used up at the same time individually, like tokens. So if her husband takes 3 months right away, 14 - 3 = 11. The first 8 weeks for OP are Mutterschutz and not Elternzeit (as far as pay is concerned). But in the 3rd month, after Mutterschutz, they are then both using Elternzeit at the same time (-2), overlapping. This actually pulls forward the deadline of OP's return to work by one month. She has "9 months" remaining, but counting from the child's birthdate minus one month earlier.  

 

Mutterschutz is 6 weeks before the planned birthdate and then adjusted based on actual birthdate (8 weeks following). E.g. our son was planned for the 21st of a month, but came on the 10th. Thus, my wife lost 2ish weeks of Mutterschutz. We also have a friend whose child was late by nearly as long, and she gained two weeks of Mutterschutz. Since our son was born on the 10th of a month, 56 workdays later, wife's Elternzeit officially began. Mutterschutz ended on the 16th, Elternzeit began on the 17th. But with standard "1 year" Elternzeit (with no overlapping months) she would have to return by the 9th day of the 12 month (one day before son's 1st birthday). We did it differently, but just to demonstrate...

 

In the example linked, the latest the mother must have returned to full work (after the period of 2 years paid/unpaid Elternzeit, for which she applied) is, as mentioned, by the child's 2nd Lebensjahr, i.e. day of the 2nd birthday. Again, done counting backwards from the actual birthday. But for mothers taking official Elternzeit, this still formally begins at earliest 8 weeks after the birth, due to Mutterschutz. It this case, it looks like she applied for Elternzeit from the birthdate. I'm not sure how this could be confused, because on the paperwork you need to write the exact days, so should've known in advance... And not responding to a legal letter due to being abroad, she is shit outta luck.

 

Elternzeit being voluntary, if a mother wants to return to work 8-Mutterschutz-weeks after the birth of her child, she can. For fathers or the other recognized parent, Elternzeit can be taken from the day of the planned birthdate of the child (though I read somewhere before that in reality, almost all fathers just take normal holiday/Sonderurlaub at first, if anything). This would be using the couple's shared Elternzeit of "14 months". But in other words, mothers still don't need to (and can't) use formal Elternzeit during the first 8 weeks of the child's life, because that's precisely what Mutterschutz is for. Elternzeit starts after that, and yes, is counted backwards as including Mutterschutz. There is more to the law, regulating other conditions or nuances, but enough, oder? 

 

I suppose part of the problem is that often the term Elternzeit is used informally (technically incorrectly) to refer in general to the whole time period parents have off after the birth. But it and Mutterschutz are two still legally different things.

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2 hours ago, alderhill said:

I did a little more reading...

 

Me too. Infact I've been reading up on this for months now and I still cannot say with confidence that I fully have my head around it. There are two long threads already on TT about it proving how surprisingly difficult it is to nail this topic down.

 

Indeed, as you say the problem is that there are 3 distinct terms...Mutterschutz, Elternzeit and Elterngeld. 3 different beasts. All linked. But all different.

 

Here is how I see it (I think it is mostly what you write above but I am going to take another stab):

 

Mutterschutz:

For the Mother only

Working is prohibited

Pay is 100% (Mutterschaftsgeld)

Start 6 weeks before the due date.

Ends either 8 weeks after the birth date (if baby is born late OR it ends 8 weeks after the due date (if baby is born early)*

 

*this means that if the baby is born after it's due date, mutterschutz will be longer than 14 (6+8) weeks. It will be extended by however many days the baby is born after the due date

 

Elternzeit:

Both parents

Can include part time work (up to 30 hours per week)

Pay is not included (see Elterngeld)

Each parent can take up to 3 years** of Elternzeit within a certain period. This is the time you can apply to take off from work and have your job protected***

Start of period is birth date (father) or end of mutterschutz (mother)

End of period is the child's 8th birthday (both parents)***

 

** Mutterschutz time is included. Therefore the 3 years of elternzeit available is reduced by 8 weeks for the mother.

*** there are conditions which I won't go into here

**** only up to 2 years can be taken after the child's 3rd birthday

 

Elterngeld:

Both parents

Can include part time work (up to 30 hours per week)

Pay is 65% (when not working at all)

Parents can share 14 months between them (or 12 months if only taken by one parent)*****

Start of period is birth date - each month of Elterngeld must start on the day of the month the child is born. So if a baby is born on May 4th and the father wants to take months 3 and 4 off then he must take off July 4th to September 3rd

End of period is anytime up to when the 14 months are up.

 

***** this is the OP's question...Mutterschaftsgeld trumps elterngeld...so 8 weeks Mutterschaftsgeld counts towards the 14 months (Für viele Mütter faktisch oft nur zehn Monate Eltern­geld)

 

So let's take the OP's example. Her partner wants to take 3 months. She is legally required to take 8 weeks Mutterschutz. This means the OP and her partner have 9 more months to play around with.

 

The bit I am still confused about is the discrepancy between Mutterschutz ending after 8 weeks but Elterngeld starting on the day of the month the child is born. For example a baby born on May 4th...Mutterschutz ends June 29th. But Elterngeld cannot start until July 4th. What happens to the bit in between? Is that just unpaid Elternzeit?

 

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36 minutes ago, theGman said:

The bit I am still confused about is the discrepancy between Mutterschutz ending after 8 weeks but Elterngeld starting on the day of the month the child is born. For example a baby born on May 4th...Mutterschutz ends June 29th. But Elterngeld cannot start until July 4th. What happens to the bit in between? Is that just unpaid Elternzeit?

 

I asked my wife if she knew, she shrugged and said 'I guess it's just unpaid'. But this tingles the senses of my little inner German lawyer, and I don't think this can be right! I assume it's covered/calculated by Elterngeld?... Perhaps it's just lumped in with the month, if it's not calculated daily... 

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It is covered. Because elterzeit and Elterngeld time starts on the day of birth of child.  So after 8 weeks of mutterschutz are done, Elterngeld will take over. In the case GMan mentioned between June 29 and July 4, Elterngeld will be paid pro rata basis. Whatever is the amount for a month will be divided by 30 and multiplied by 5. 

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5 hours ago, theGman said:

 

Mutterschutz:

For the Mother only

 

And only for those with their own public health insurance! 

 

5 hours ago, theGman said:

Working is prohibited

 

Maternity protection only applies to employees, not to the self-employed. 

 

5 hours ago, theGman said:

Pay is 100% (Mutterschaftsgeld)

 

Again only for those with public health insurance! Whether the privately insured receive a corresponding benefit from their insurance depends on the contract. 

 

5 hours ago, theGman said:

Start 6 weeks before the due date.

 

Elterngeld:

Both parents

Can include part time work (up to 30 hours per week)

Pay is 65% (when not working at all)

 

It depends. It's usually 65-67% but can be as much as 100% (for low-income earners). There is also a minimum amount (300 euros) and a maximum amount (1,800 euros). 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, someonesdaughter said:

And only for those with their own public health insurance! 

 

 

Maternity protection only applies to employees, not to the self-employed. 

 

 

Again only for those with public health insurance! Whether the privately insured receive a corresponding benefit from their insurance depends on the contract. 

 

 

It depends. It's usually 65-67% but can be as much as 100% (for low-income earners). There is also a minimum amount (300 euros) and a maximum amount (1,800 euros). 

 

Indeed, there are loads of caveats and additions to my post. €300 min and €1800 max is probably the biggest omission. I skipped over part time work too. And I didn't mention at all ElterngeldPlus, Partnerschaftsbonus, single parents, self-employed, those on time limited contracts, premature birth and, as you say, the privately insured.

 

It's complicated for sure, but I cannot complain. It's a comprehensive system, more supporting than most countries.

 

 

15 hours ago, alderhill said:

I asked my wife if she knew, she shrugged and said 'I guess it's just unpaid'. But this tingles the senses of my little inner German lawyer, and I don't think this can be right! I assume it's covered/calculated by Elterngeld?... Perhaps it's just lumped in with the month, if it's not calculated daily... 

 

10 hours ago, Sesh said:

It is covered. Because elterzeit and Elterngeld time starts on the day of birth of child.  So after 8 weeks of mutterschutz are done, Elterngeld will take over. In the case GMan mentioned between June 29 and July 4, Elterngeld will be paid pro rata basis. Whatever is the amount for a month will be divided by 30 and multiplied by 5. 

 

Sounds like either way it won't be an issue. It'll sort itself out.

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Re. Mutterschutz: You could work in the six weeks before birth, but you would have to give your employer a written info that you are doing so willingly etc. Some people do that and take more time off after the birth. 

If the baby is born before the due date, those days are added onto the 8 weeks. 

If your baby is premature (as per the doctor's definition, pre week 37, or below 2.500 g etc.), you get 12 weeks after the birth. 

 

Example: If your baby is 6 weeks early, you will have 18 weeks maternity leave with Mutterschaftsgeld: 8 weeks after plus 4 weeks for premature baby plus 6 weeks you didn't take before the birth. 

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I learn two things the hard way with my Elternzeit.

One: If you take 2 years from the start, you can unilaterally choose to add the consecutive third year. If you only take 1 year, your employer has to OK any extension.

Two: When they say you can work 30 hours on Elterngeld plus, they mean 30 hours at the same rate of pay that you had, assuming you're just going to reduce your previous hours in the same job. If you do something else (I freelanced from home instead), then they don't go by hours but by the money you earn. At the start of my Elternzeit, I was told to guess what I thought I might earn as a freelancer during my Elternzeit. Never mind I had no way of knowing what having a baby would do to my ability to work, or how many freelancing gigs I would get over that period. They based the Elterngeld on that guess, instead of just using my known previous income and telling me what I could earn and what I would get when I did. Had they told me from the beginning what the formula was by which they calculated the payments, I could have limited my income accordingly. I am currently PAYING BACK €2000 of Elterngeld because it was only after I had finished my Elternzeit that my actual earnings were calculated against what they had paid and  got a retroactive bill. I would strongly recommend sitting down (if you're good at math...I'm not so my tax consultant did this for me) and making a table of "earn x, get y" so you can balance how much you want to work with how much you ask for and prevent your total income from exceeding 2/3 of what you earned before.

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I am have been thinking about this elterngeldplus issue for sometime. Suppose, I am working for 30 hours in my current job after the birth of my child and mutterschutz , is there a threshold on how much elterngeld that I should receive. Paying back money, I generally want avoid after elternzeit as in the case of @ clarseach83. Currently, my partner is looking for a new offer and is taking the elterngeld but we were thinking of changing this after he finds a new job. Is there a threshold on the overall income that one should earn during the elternzeit as a family?

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