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Carefully focussed support for families

With parental leave, the family allowance and good childcare offerings, Germany supports families and fosters equal participation in working life.
Familientreff im Kindergarten
© dpa

Structures are likewise changing within families. Intergenerational relationships between parents and children are often good and as a rule are not characterised by trad­itional or authoritarian upbringing patterns, but by involvement, affection, encouragement, and the promotion of independence. The proportion of working mothers with school-age children stood at 78 percent in 2018 (2006: 61 percent). More than three quarters of working women with children work on a part-time basis however, especially those whose children are not yet at school. In 2018 the employment rate of women in Germany was 76 percent – the third highest in the EU.

The parental leave introduced in 2007 makes it easier to reconcile starting a family with professional further development. Parental leave gives both partners the option of suspending their jobs for up to three years. During this period they receive a family allowance for up to 14 months amounting to 67 percent of their last net income (minimum of 300, maximum of 1,800 euros) to secure their livelihood.

Early re-entry into working life pays off

Seventy-five percent of Germans consider the family allowance to be a good arrangement; almost all parents take advantage of the benefit. However, around 72 percent of fathers only take the minimum period of two months off. It continues to be primarily mothers who stay at home for a longer period after having children. The Elterngeld Plus family allowance scheme launched in 2015 makes returning to work early on even more worthwhile: Parents who work part-time receive financial support for up to 28 months.

Since 1 August 2013 children have had a legal right to a nursery place upon reaching the age of one. Today more than one in three children under three (around 829,000 as of 1 March 2020) attend one of the 57,600 day-care facilities or is cared for by one of 44,800 child minders. The number of nursery places for under-threes has more than doubled since 2006.