Bearded baby bouncers on the rise

Bearded baby bouncers on the rise
Photo: DPA
More German fathers are staying home from work when their kids are born than ever before - using a state parental allowance to take paternity leave from their jobs, new government statistics show.

Just over 27 percent of fathers of children born in the second quarter of 2011 used this parental benefit, up from 19 percent in 2008, the Federal Office for Statistics said on Thursday.

“More and more fathers are deciding to draw a parenting allowance and taking time for their child and their family,” said Family Minister Kristina Schröder.

“The new numbers confirm the success of the parenting allowance as an indispensable part of modern family policy.”

When fathers take time out from their careers, said Schröder, it allows families to grow closer together during the time after the birth of a child. Meanwhile many young parents now rely on the parenting allowance in their family planning, she added.

Fewer fathers are reducing their role to pure bread-winning, said Christine Haderthauer, family minister for Bavaria, who also welcomed the new figures. “Family men are on the rise,” she said.

Parenting allowance is paid for up to 14 months by the state to parents opting to take time off work. The amount is usually calculated as 67 percent of the parent’s average monthly net income in the year before the child is born, capped between lower and upper limits of €300 and €1,800.

More than 95 percent of mothers take up the government’s offer, and the figures show the idea is gaining popularity among fathers, particularly in Saxony, Bavaria and Thuringia, where between 33 and 35 percent of fathers take leave from their jobs.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

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