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Maternity and Paternity Leave in Germany: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Hiring employees overseas will bring a new set of employment rules in the host country, and your current company policies may not be sufficient to meet the minimum statutory entitlements.  Among those entitlements could be mandated maternity or paternity leave, and if you are hiring in Germany you will find there is a generous labor policy when it comes to offering leave to parents with newborn children.

If you are new to Germany, you might be wondering how much leave to offer a new mother or father, or what sort of cost burden you should expect when it comes to paid leave.

This guide will give you the basic outline of maternity and parental leave in Germany, so that your employees will receive the leave they are entitled to.

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Maternity Leave Entitlements, Parental Leave and the Maternity Protection Act in Germany  

Maternity Leave

The Maternity Protection Act (MPA) is the law that governs maternity leave in Germany.  The leave entitlement under the MPA is six weeks prior and eight weeks after birth (or 12 weeks in case of premature or multiple births). Further protection includes the prohibition of terminating an employee during the pregnancy and for four months afterward, and this also applies in the case of miscarriage.

Parental Leave

In addition to maternity leave, there is the option for the mother or father to take extended parental leave for up to a total of 24 months, with a parental allowance of 300 to 1200 Euros (depending on salary), paid by the government for the initial 14 months.

This is generous benefit and even though the state pays the allowance, it does have the potential to place a burden on the employer for prolonged absences.  Despite this, employees cannot be terminated while on parental leave, and are entitled to the same work hours when they return.  The employment contract is essentially suspended during the leave period, but if they take an entire year, they cannot take more leave in the following year without employer permission.

Paternity Leave Entitlements in Germany

Fathers don’t have any statutory paternity leave entitlement, but they can choose to take the same parental leave as the mother, along with the allowance up to the maximum period.

Maternity/Paternity Eligibility for Expats and Locals in Germany?

All employees in Germany who are having a child are eligible for maternity and paternity leave, within the statutory limits.  This includes expat workers also, but will be more common for local employees.

How to Apply for Maternity or Parental Leave in Germany

Maternity or paternal leave must be applied for through the employer seven weeks prior to the planned leave period.

Do you need more information about Germany?

The maternity leave rules in Germany may present a challenge for you, and you might need more information about:

Calculating the amount of maternity leave before and after birth

How to integrate maternity leave and parental leave periods for the mother

Ensuring that the parental leave allowance is paid to the employee by the government

Our in country experts and local partners can help with all of these issues, as well as immigration, payroll and tax compliance.  We make international employment simple.

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