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New fathers in Germany often get no time time off – but change is coming

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DPA/The Local - [email protected]
New fathers in Germany often get no time time off – but change is coming
Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

A recent survey reveals that many German companies do not provide any special leave for fathers following the birth of a child, with 44 percent of surveyed firms offering no such provisions.

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The research further reveals that among the companies surveyed, 26 percent allowed a single day of leave for new fathers, while another 26 percent offered two days.

Only four percent of companies went beyond this, providing more than two days of leave.

The findings stem from a survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute on behalf of Germany's family ministry.

Despite the apparent lack of special leave for fathers, the study's authors said company leaders were attuned to evolving expectations among fathers, who increasingly want more involvement in family life.

Many company leaders expressed a willingness to consider and address these changes, the study showed.

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

Presenting the survey's results at a conference in Berlin, Family Minister Lisa Paus underscored the importance of fostering a family-friendly corporate culture actively endorsed by senior executives.

Paus also championed the concept of a 'family start time', which will entail granting new parents two weeks of paid leave following the birth of a child. The proposed legislation is currently under discussion within the federal government.

"We want to provide partners with the opportunity to assist the new mother and aid in her recovery. This approach will simultaneously encourage equitable sharing of responsibilities from the outset," said the Green party politician.

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The survey showed that the idea of 'family start time' remained relatively unknown, with 59 percent of the surveyed companies lacking familiarity with the concept.

Among the respondents, 43 percent viewed the proposed initiative positively, while 31 percent expressed opposition, and 26 percent remained undecided.

"Evidently, it is increasingly crucial, even from a corporate perspective, to support young families. I advocate for persuading more companies and families to embrace this fantastic idea that can benefit everyone," said Paus. 

Both parents in Germany can currently apply for a combined total of 14 months of Elterngeld, or paid parental allowance. But only a minority of fathers apply and those who do take on average the minimum of two months.

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

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