New fathers in Germany to receive paid paternity leave 'starting in 2024'

The Local (news@thelocal.com)
The Local ([email protected]) • 28 Nov, 2022 Updated Mon 28 Nov 2022 11:14 CEST
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A father holds the hand of a baby boy. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

For the first time, fathers in Germany will receive two weeks guaranteed paid time off work following the birth of their child, said Family Minister Lisa Paus.

Starting in 2024, fathers in Germany will automatically receive paid Vaterschaftsurlaub (paternity leave) for two weeks following the birth of their child. Previously they had no guaranteed time off, except for the day of the birth itself.

Germany’s coalition government had already discussed writing paternity leave into law in 2023, but put the plans on hold, “due to the difficult situation for small and medium-sized businesses,” said Family Minister Lisa Paus from the Greens on Monday. 

The new rule will be part of the Mutterschutzgesetz (Maternity Protection Act), which guarantees new mothers six weeks of paid leave before the birth of a child, and two months afterwards.

Especially in the period following the birth, it is important "that parents have time for each other and the baby," Paus said. 

She added that the paid time off is "another important building block for the compatibility of family and career.”

Fathers in Germany already have the option to take ‘Elternzeit’, or parental leave. When both parents apply for the benefit, they can take a total of 14 months of leave paid at 65 percent of their salary.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about parental leave in Germany

In 2020, 25 percent of new fathers in Germany applied for leave and took an average of 3.7 months off from work. On the other hand, all new mothers in Germany took an average of 14.5 months of Elternzeit, as the total time (including unpaid leave) is available for up to 36 months. 

In July, the European Union already passed a directive that all fathers be entitled to two weeks off following the birth of their child. Germany’s coalition government then began discussing when to implement the measure.

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