An issues that Germany has been dealing with is a very low birth rate of about 1.3 births per woman. Because of this, politicians are looking for ways to encourage families to have more children, in order to better balance the birth to mortality ratio. One way to boost that ratio is to offer a monetary incentive to families for every child they have. The incentive not only encourages families to have more children, but it also gives parents a chance to stay home longer, during the most important developmental stages of a child’s life.
What is the Elterngeld?
The Parenting Allowance, or Elterngeld, is a federal system which gives subsidized income to parents for the first 12 to 14 months of their child’s life. The amount of Elterngeldthat parents who will stay home and care for their child will receive is calculated based on their income, after taxes. Both parents have the option to stay home with their child and share the Elterngeld by splitting up the 12 to 14 month time frame between them.
Which parents are eligible to receive theElterngeld?
Those eligible to receive the Elterngeld include employed and self-employed parents, and bureaucrats who are parents. Unemployed parents, students, and apprentices who are parents are all also eligible to receive the Elterngeld. Also eligible are the parents of adoptive children.
Certain additional criteria must be met in order for families to receive the Elterngeld. Recipients of the Elterngeld must reside in Germany or have a resident permit allowing the parent to work in Germany. The parent and child must live together in the same home, and the parent receiving the Elterngeld must be the one to raise and take care of the child, as opposed to having a nanny or au pair. Lastly, the parent must not work more than 30 hours per week during the time that they are receiving the Elterngeld.
How much are parents given with the Elterngeld?
The Elterngeld amount is calculated based on the parent’s income for the 12 months prior to the birth. The total amount received totals 67 percent of the parent’s total earnings, after taxes, for one year. The minimum amount issued is €300 per month, even for parents who are unemployed. The maximum amount issued is €1,800 per month. For each multiple birth, €300 is issued per child.
There is also a sibling bonus. Families with multiple children are eligible to receive a minimum of an additional €75 per month, or an extra 10 percent of the Elterngeld. In order to receive the sibling bonus, the children must be under 4 years of age if there are two in the family, and the children must be under 7 years of age if there are three in the family.
There are so many benefits to having a child—a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime. Getting to see a little version of yourself learn and grow and become a part of society. Having someone you can force to do the chores you hate. Now Germany has given parents another reason to produce more little bundles of joy.