• Germany's news in English
 

SPD proposes 30-hour workweek for parents

Published: 28 Dec 2012 10:06 GMT+01:00

"On the one hand, there are many women who are forced to let go of their careers more than they would like to," Andrea Nahles, general secretary for the centre-left SPD, said on Thursday.

"And on the other hand, we have fathers who would like to spend more time with their children."

Faced with a falling birthrate, German politicians have been under increasing pressure to come up with policy solutions. A study released last Monday showed that the country is becoming a less attractive place to have children, due to difficulties reconciling family and work.

Germany, whose birthrate currently stands at just 1.39 children per woman, has one of the highest number of childless women worldwide.

The SPD's candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbrück, is said to back the proposal to cut working time for parents. Nahles said the government could cover some of the costs for a period of two to three years.

"We want to even out the 'rush hour' of life between the ages of 25 and 40," she said. "It might also help women avoid the career setback that comes with being out of the working world too long."

But the proposal has come under fire from the pro-business Free Democrats, who are in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives at the federal level.

Nahles's counterpart in the FDP, General Secretary Patrick Döring, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel daily that the SPD had lost touch with reality in its drive to win over voters.

"A 30-hour workweek for a large part of the population is something that Germany cannot and does not want to pay for," he said.

DPA/The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:44 December 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Business before family. Don't forget that the 40 hour work week is in reality more like a 45 hour work week taking into consideration the fact most employers have a culture of employees feeling uncomfortable going home on time.
12:00 December 28, 2012 by grinners
Yeah sometimes I really miss my MTB. I would love to spend more time with it, but my employer tells me a 30 week is inappropriate :-(

On another note: shortening the working week for parents would also result in increased cost from overtime. Something inefficient workers (like by us) exploit.

(I love commenting on websites during work times)
13:02 December 28, 2012 by Simon_Kellett
I went to a 30 hour week (as the "breadwinner") when our second child was born: best thing I ever did :-)
13:07 December 28, 2012 by rosenthalenglish
Would be far better to introduce a minimum wage across the whole of Germany which was also paying enough that a family can live on.Time that the top bosses started treating their workers as assets not just pawns to make them richer and richer.
13:21 December 28, 2012 by Wrench
Maybe we would have more children if we were not taxed to death paying for idiot programs like this.
17:51 December 28, 2012 by pjnt
I think the school system is very much at the heart of the problem here. Kids can finish classes from 10:30 - 14:30 on any given day. OGS will offer places until 16:00 for a price. There are no serious employers out there that will take on that schedule when others will work full hours. So you can get a nanny to take the kids after 16:00. Now all you income goes to paying for sitters, might as well stay home.

Broken system.
Today's headlines
Germany heightens travel warning for Turkey
A view of Istanbul. Photo: DPA.

Germany heightens travel warning for Turkey

The German government has issued more severe warnings about travelling to Turkey after a string of terror attacks in the south of the country, and as Ankara intensifies conflict against two militias in Syria and Iraq. READ  

Fireman turned arsonist jailed for 3 years
Fire services extinguish an unrelated fire in Hamburg in 2011. Photo: DPA

Fireman turned arsonist jailed for 3 years

After a series of arson attacks over several months, an ex-fireman has been sentenced to three years in jail without chance of bail. READ  

Mother slams IKEA for rejecting autistic son
Photo: DPA

Mother slams IKEA for rejecting autistic son

A mother from North Rhine-Westphalia has accused furniture chain IKEA of debasement, discrimination and marginalization – after employees in their Dortmund store refused to let her autistic son into the children's play area. READ  

Wallaby goes walkabout in Berlin outback
Photo: Gemeinde Nuthe-Urstromtal

Wallaby goes walkabout in Berlin outback

A woman in a village south of Berlin was shocked to find a rather unusual visitor in her garden on Tuesday. But by the time police got there he'd already bounced. READ  

Munich upholds ban on Jewish 'memory blocks'
A pedestrian walks by a group of Stolpersteine. Photo: DPA

Munich upholds ban on Jewish 'memory blocks'

The Munich City Council said on Wednesday that it had voted to continue banning the placement of blocks commemorating Jewish Holocaust victims in city streets - a ban that garnered surprising support from Jewish community leaders. READ  

13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Batlle in Syria. Photo: DPA

13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis

A young teen from Munich was detained near the Turkish border with Syria on Friday as he was trying to join the radical Islamist group Isis. READ  

The Local List
Six odd ways Germans talk about the weather
Photo: DPA

Six odd ways Germans talk about the weather

Is it absolutely roasting, or raining cats and dogs? Neither if you live in Germany. Here are six wonderfully weird expressions Germans use to talk about the weather - some more literal than others. READ  

Little by little, Germans move away from cash
Photo: DPA

Little by little, Germans move away from cash

Tourists and business travellers visiting Germany are often surprised when they reach to pay for their beer, metro tickets or even a large restaurant bill that their credit cards are not welcome. Habits, however, are slowly changing as younger consumers leapfrog from cash to convenient electronic forms of payment. READ  

Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
Martin Sonneborn. Photo: DPA

Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife

After winning a seat in the European Parliament last year on a commitment to 'milking Brussels,' satirical party Die Partei broke new ground. Now a 'Nazi Putsch' threatens to split the party asunder. READ  

Pelicans with wanderlust escape German zoo
These feathered fugitives took flight from the zoo to get a birds-eye view of the world. Photo: DPA.

Pelicans with wanderlust escape German zoo

A pair of pelicans with a serious case of wanderlust flew the coop from Osnabrück Zoo last week, only to find their way back days later. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,175
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd