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Major review of family benefits planned

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Major review of family benefits planned
Photo: DPA
08:24 CEST+02:00
The German government plans to conduct a sweeping review of its family policies and benefits to see whether they have been effective, Family Minister Kristina Schröder said on Wednesday.

“It's already in the works,” she told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We're measuring over years whether the services work. Are they strengthening early child education? Are they improving options? Are they strengthening the compatibility between family and jobs?”

Results are expected in 2013, she said.

In the meantime, Schröder also called for parents to make better use of Elterngeld, or parental benefits, which allow them to take time off after their children are born.

“If the boss takes parenting benefits at a big firm, then later the young lawyer will also feel comfortable doing this,” she said.

The conservative minister also said Germans need to adopt new ideas about appropriate work weeks for parents.

“We must get away from the choice between 40 and 20 hour work weeks,” she told the paper. “One who wants to take care of their children in addition to working rather needs a 30-hour work week.”

In an interview with another paper, the Wiesbadener Kurier, Schröder said that government would make good on its promise to guarantee a day care spot for all children under age three by 2013.

Despite fears that employee shortages will delay the programme, the Family Ministry's information from youth services offices across the country has shown the goal is realistic, she said.

“The answer is clear: We can reach our goal and have day care spots for 35 percent of the children under three by 2013,” she said.

Schröder said 35 percent was adequate for expected demands.

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