Parental leave

Parental Leave

What Is Parental Leave?

Would you like to spend as much time as possible with your family after the birth of your child and interrupt your professional activity or work a little less? That is not a problem in Germany. After the birth of a child, mothers and fathers have the right to take time off from their work, known as “parental leave”. Then you can fully take care of the family. During this time, the employer may only terminate the employment relationship in special exceptional cases (e.g. insolvency, shutdown of the company, breach of duty). After parental leave, mothers and fathers have the right to return to the working hours that were in effect in the employment contract before the start of parental leave. If you want to apply for parental leave, the so-called parental allowance offices will help you. You can find the addresses on the German-language website

Who Is Entitled To Parental Leave?

In Germany, mothers and fathers can apply for parental leave if they are employed; that is, you are an employee and have a German employment contract. This applies to fixed-term contracts, part-time contracts, marginal employment and also for apprentices in a company. After returning to the company, the training continues as planned. Before the start of parental leave, however, the trainee should ask the competent chamber or culture authority how the return to work after parental leave is regulated.

The right to so-called “parental leave” exists until the child reaches the age of three. Students, trainees, the self-employed or the unemployed are not entitled to parental leave.

If both parents of a child are employed, they can take parental leave alternately or at the same time. It is important, however, that parental leave is only available for working mothers and fathers who also live in the same household with the child and who mostly look after their child themselves.

How Long Is Parental Leave?

You can decide for yourself about the length of your parental leave. In most cases, parental leave will begin with the birth of the child (e.g. parental leave of the father) or after the maternity leave period (parental leave of the mother). In any case, you are entitled to parental leave until your child turns three. You also have the option of transferring a portion of your parental leave of up to 24 months until you reach the age of 8. Such a transfer does not require the consent of the employer.


During parental leave, you can work up to 30 hours a week with the agreement of your employer. Under certain conditions, you even have a legal right to it.

As a mother or father, you can divide the entire parental leave into three periods. If you want to take parental leave within the first three years of the child’s life, you must register the parental leave with your employer seven weeks before the (planned) start.

For parental leave that is to be taken between the child’s third birthday and the child’s eighth year of life, the period is 13 weeks before it begins. The employer is obliged to issue you a written confirmation of the duration of the parental leave.

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