Paid or unpaid leave – if mothers get sick, liliput lounge

Be sick, go to bed and recover? Most mothers only dream of it. Because the reality is almost always different.

A virus usually doesn’t come alone. With us it is almost always a chain reaction. And generally the father of my children is often the first to fall ill, he takes sick leave, spends a few days on the sofa – supplied with tea and hot water bottles. Then the first child falls ill, shortly afterwards the second. Between child one and child two, my own throat begins to scratch. Or there is a slight gag reflex – depending on the illness.

Paid or unpaid leave – when mothers get sick (©

The man sneaks back to the workplace – sure, he shouldn’t be missing for long. And dear mom? This can be found in a surreal sleepless nightmare: brewing tea, comforting and cuddling children for hours, making beds, washing clothes, mopping up vomit, making beds, pushing any medication into reluctant children’s bodies, reading picture books, comforting, cuddling, mopping up, washing, beds relate and start again. A sick child is not beautiful. Two sick children are hard work.

Generally, my immune system doesn’t like sleep deprivation at all. When I’m unlucky, I get sick with the children. Or shortly afterwards. But just go to bed and recover? With two children who are already on the mend? They just don’t know compassion or consideration. I staggered back from intensive contact with the toilet bowl, when the comment from my four-year-old was only: “Mom, you look bad. Are you finally going to cook us cocoa? "

Maternal health is pretty much behind in most families. If everyone is sick, who’s dragging themselves to the supermarket? Exactly: mom. But whoever thinks only of the others, will never really recover at some point. It is very important to have the courage in such situations. asking others for help. Maybe grandma can come for a few hours so that the sick mom can have a few hours of sleep?

Sickness is a state of emergency, it also allows exceptional solutions. If dad is indispensable at work, grandma has no time, but sleep is now simply a human right that mama needs, then dear youngsters can also watch a DVD – and mum take a nap in that time.

Caring for sick children or getting sick yourself? The legal situation:

For children under the age of 12 in their own household, working mothers and fathers or single parents are entitled to be paid for work or caring for their sick child.

The number of possible days off applies to a calendar year and only applies to children under the age of twelve. Leave days means that you can stay at home – whether these days are paid or unpaid depends on the employment contract.

  • If mother and father are employed, both parents are entitled to it, per calendar year ten working days to be released for the care of their sick child under the age of twelve.
  • Working single mothers or fathers are entitled to a total of one per calendar year 20 working days to be released from work for the care of their sick child under the age of twelve.
  • at several children under twelve years of age, the possible days off for each parent increase maximum 25working days in the calendar year.
  • For single parent the right to exemption increases for several children under the age of twelve maximum 50working days per calendar year.
  • In all cases, a must as soon as possible – at best on the 1st day of illness medical certificate be caught up and the employer informed of the absence

Legal basis
According to applicable law, a distinction is made between paid leave according to § 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB) and unpaid leave in accordance with Section 45 of the Fifth Social Code (SGB V).

"Paid" and "unpaid" refer to the continued payment of the wages by the employing company.

Paid leave of absence according to § 616 BGB
According to the German Civil Code, employees are generally entitled to paid time off work – i.e. with continued payment of wages – if someone is prevented from working for "insignificant reasons through no fault of his own" (Section 616). Care for a sick child is also one of the "personal reasons" for which he is not at fault, if no other care option consists.

However, this right to paid leave to care for a sick child is often excluded by a collective agreement or an employment contract – that is looks exactly what was agreed in your employment contract.

Unpaid leave and child sickness benefit according to § 45 SGB V

If the right to paid leave is excluded by employment or collective agreement or has already been exhausted, there is a right to unpaid leave in accordance with Section 45 SGB V. Employees who statutory health insurance in this case and are entitled to sickness benefit, receive in this case as wage replacement a so-called Children sick pay from their health insurance.

The (gross) child sickness benefit is – up to a (annually new) legally stipulated maximum amount (max. 70% thereof) – 90 percent of the net earnings lost during the leave. If one-time contributions (e.g. Christmas bonuses, holiday bonuses) are paid within the previous twelve calendar months before the release, the child sickness benefit is 100 percent of the net wages lost.
Contributions to pension, unemployment and long-term care insurance in the amount of the usual employee contribution rate are deducted from the determined (gross) child sickness benefit before the health insurance company pays the child sickness benefit.

This sickness benefit must be requested from the responsible health insurance provider with a corresponding certificate (certificate) from the pediatrician stating the need for care.
Child sickness benefit is granted from the day of application.
Previous paid leave for caring for the child will count towards sickness benefit.
The duration of the payment is limited in time and is only granted if the relevant requirements are met. We have compiled these for you here:

Requirements for child sickness benefit
The prerequisites for granting child sickness benefit in the case of unpaid leave from work are:

  • The employer is not entitled to continued wages (paid leave).
  • The affected parent is legally insured with sickness benefit entitlement or the sick child is self- or family-insured.
  • The child’s need for care is confirmed by a medical certificate.
  • No one else in the household can take care of the sick child.
  • The sick child is under the age of twelve or – if it is older – disabled and in need of help.
  • Privately insured employees are not entitled to sickness benefit; if one parent is private and the other is compulsorily insured, the insurance with which the child is co-insured applies.

Child sickness benefit in the event of a child’s accident or job search
If a child needs care and needs care as a result of an accident on the way to or from the daycare center or school or in the facility, the sickness benefit is paid by the accident insurance.
In the event of unemployment, the employment agency pays child sickness benefit if the job search cannot be continued due to the illness of a child.

Indemnification and child sickness benefit for seriously ill children
In the very difficult situation that a child terminally ill is and only a few weeks or has months to live, the caring parent (mother or father) has an unlimited right to leave and child sickness benefit. The basis is the “Law for the Care and Care of Seriously Ill Children”, which came into force on August 1, 2002, and which has also been incorporated in Section 45 of the Fifth Social Code.

Thereafter, there is an unlimited claim if the child is on one illness suffers,

  • which is progressive and has already reached a very advanced stage
  • where a cure is excluded and palliative medical treatment is necessary or desired by a parent and
  • that can only be expected to have a limited life expectancy of weeks or a few months. (§ 45 Abs. 4 SGB V)
  • There is an indefinite right to be released from work to look after and accompany the child, especially if the child is cared for as an inpatient in a children’s hospice or outpatient through a hospice service, but also if he is treated with palliative care in the hospital

Help in the household and with children’s nursing

Under certain conditions, families are entitled to help with childcare at home or in the household

If the care and care of the sick child by the parents is not sufficient, the pediatrician can prescribe childcare at home. The costs for this are borne by the health insurance companies under the following conditions:

  • Home care for children can prevent or shorten a stay in the hospital.
  • It is not possible for the child to go to hospital because either there is no bed available in the hospital or the child cannot be expected to separate from his parents.

How does it work with the right to domestic help?

If a mom cannot continue the household due to her pregnancy or childbirth and therefore cannot look after her child or has to go to the hospital or spa itself, she can health insurance domestic help can be requested.

The prerequisites for health insurance to cover costs are

  • A child under the age of twelve lives in the household or a child is disabled and in need of care.
  • No other person living in the household can continue the household and take care of the child.
  • You can make this claim under the conditions mentioned, regardless of whether your child is ill.

Those who are unable to take care of their child for health or other imperative reasons and cannot be looked after sufficiently by other members of the family can also contact the local one youth Welfare Office turn. This also applies in the event that the child falls ill and no days off or vacation are available.

The youth welfare office can provide household help or other temporary help if necessary and – depending on the emergency and financial situation – may also assume the costs of professional child care.

The information gathered here comes from the Federal Center for Health Education – BZgA for short. You can get more information from your health insurance company.


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Christina Cherry
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