Parental leave: employers should know that
Employees who become parents have a statutory right to parental leave. During this time, the employment relationship is suspended and the employer does not have to pay either wages or salary.
Social security contributions are also eliminated. What else should be known, entrepreneurs learn here.
Claim for parental leave and parental allowance is regulated by law
According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of parents applying for parental allowance grew by 5 percent in 2016. The number of fathers in this period even by nearly 12 percent. Reason enough for employers to deal with the topic of parental leave and parental allowance in more detail, because the claim is regulated by law and can therefore also be demanded.
However, employees must meet certain conditions in order to apply for parental leave. This includes:
- That the time is used to look after one’s own or adopted child. Also the child of the life partner (registered partnership or marriage) counts to this.
- That the child lives with the applicant in a household.
- That the applicant mainly looks after him and does not work more than 30 hours a week.
If these conditions are met, the employee can apply for parental leave.
The deadlines for parental leave applications
As an employer, it is only possible in very rare cases to reject an employee’s parental leave, but any employee wishing to take parental leave must apply for it – at least seven weeks before the planned start.
If the application is filed too late, that is no reason to refuse parental leave, but it shifts. This is the period of time that the application was submitted too late.
Specifically, this means:
- Fathers must orient themselves when applying for the calculated date of birth. Seven weeks will be deducted from this date, so that parental leave already takes effect on the day of the calculated birth.
- For mothers, on the other hand, the situation is a little different: For them, the first eight weeks after the birth of the child is in any case a statutory employment ban. Therefore, to meet the seven-week deadline, it is sufficient for mothers to apply for parental leave one week after the birth of the child.
Attention: Employers are obliged to issue their employees with a certificate of parental leave and parental allowance upon request. (# 02)
The information obligation of employers
Attention: Employers are obliged to issue their employees with a certificate of parental leave and parental allowance upon request.
Since the parental allowance is based on the income of the last 12 months before the birth of the child, the employee needs a certificate about it. This must be issued by the employer, even if the employee in question no longer works in the company.
According to § 9 of the Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (BEEG), employers must provide information on the following points:
- the amount of the remuneration that the employee regularly received
- the amount of payroll tax that was paid
- the length of the regular weekly or monthly working hours
- the amount of the employee’s share of the social security contributions
Employers who do not respond in time or incorrectly to the information may be prosecuted. This constitutes an administrative offense within the meaning of Paragraph 14 BEEG and can be punished with a fine of up to EUR 2,000.
The application for parental leave can be submitted informally to the employer, but the written form must be complied with. (# 03)
The application for parental leave in detail
The application for parental leave can be submitted informally to the employer, but the written form must be adhered to. Purely verbal agreements are not valid. In part because, in a purely oral agreement, both parties can not prove what they have agreed to.
The written request should include the following information:
- Beginning of parental leave
- End of parental leave
- Is parental leave taken at one go, or should it be divided into different periods??
Some workers do not apply immediately for the full three years they are entitled to parental leave, but initially opt for a shorter period. If the remaining parental leave is to be withdrawn at a later date, the employee must submit a new written request containing all the formalities already mentioned.
As an employer you only have the option to reject an employee’s parental leave in extremely rare cases, but any employee who wishes to take parental leave must apply for it – at least seven weeks before the planned start. (# 04)
The change in the interrupt message is omitted
The legislator planned, as of 01.01. 2017 to start a change regarding the parental leave obligation. However, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) announced that this change will not come into force. For employers, therefore, everything remains in the usual procedure: An interruption report must be submitted by the employer to the appropriate collection point (usually the statutory health insurance), if the interruption of parental leave persists for more than one month.
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Voluntary grants during parental leave
Some employers continue to pay their employees voluntary benefits during parental leave. The following should be taken into account in order to avoid problems with contributory pay.
Decisive for this is the clause § 23c Fourth Book of the Social Code (SGB IV).
- If the amount of the previous remuneration (net) is not exceeded by the sum of parental benefits and grants, the grants do not count as contributory remuneration.
- If, however, the level of the previous salary is exceeded by the allowances, these are no longer considered as non-contributory. For employers this means that they have to pay contributions.
Photo credits: © Shutterstock Cover Photo: Phase4Studios – # 01: Oksana Shufrych- # 02: _Iakov Filimonov – # 03: PhotographyByMK – # 04: Olesia Bilkei
About Marius Beilhammer
Marius Beilhammer, born in 1969, studied journalism in Bamberg. He has been writing for technical magazines for many years, as well as a freelance author on a variety of market and business topics. As a Franconian cheerful nature, he always finds the balance between lightness and comprehensive know-how in his work through his pronounced affinity to technology.
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