Baby-Making in Germany

In honor of our soon-to-be-born nephew (yay Irene and Devon!), we wanted to do a post about having children/childcare in Germany, especially since it is so vastly different from the US.  Well, okay, making the baby’s no different ;), but almost everything else is. 

Child-bearing leave:

This perk was almost enough to make us consider moving here!  In Germany, after having a baby, an employer is required to hold a woman’s job for 3 years!  In the first year, the woman receives something like 60% of her salary.  The next two years, if she chooses to take them, are pay-free, but she can be confident that her job will be there for her when she returns.  It is feasible, then, that families plan so that they have a child every 3 years–holding a woman’s job for 3 years x as many kids as she has!  This is okay in Germany because the government is really encouraging German-couples especially to have children.  The population of the “Germans” in Germany is declining with an increased immigrant population. 

More surprising: New mothers who have given birth are not allowed to return to work until 8 weeks have passed!

Dads, too, are permitted by law to stay home with the child for a month or two.  They don’t receive pay, but they get a nice opportunity that not many dads in the states do!

Kinderwelt (Children’s money):

Any taxpaper in Germany who has children receives “kinderwelt” (kid money).  It is a fund from the government that helps families deal with the expenses of having children.  Families receive 180-215 Euros per child per month.  The stipend changes depending on how many kids you have (For the first 2, you get 180; by the 4th, you’re up to 215).  The Kinderwelt is paid til age 18, or possibly 25 if the child is still in school.

Mutterschaftsgeld / Maternity Allowance:

6 weeks prior to and 8 weeks after delivery, pregnant women also get a maternity allowance.  This is to help pay the cost of hospital and doctor care during pregnancy.  The allowance varies by existing employment pay, but typically around 13 Euros a day, or a one time payment of over 200 Euros. 

Elterngeld / Parental Allowance:

Like I said before, the Germans want you to have babies!  The birth rate here is only 1.3 births/woman, so in 2007 they created another social incentive to make whoopie!

Elterngeld is an allowance for parents.  It is limited to the first year of the child’s birth, but it can be significant.  The Elterngeld will be equivalent to 67% of the applying parent’s after-tax earnings with the maximum amount being 1,800 Euros/month.  Wow!

Anyway, you can all rest assured that we won’t be having a baby while we are here.  We can’t help but think about this, though, because the birth of our first nephew is on the forefront of our minds.  We can’t wait til the little guy arrives.  Congrats Devon and Irene!

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pam on July 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    You were really trying to get your mother excited, weren’t you? Those Germany benefits are unbelievable, though. Wish the U.S. would even do part of it.


  2. Posted by Irene on July 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    What a nice post!! We are excited too 🙂 Those are some incredible baby-making incentives. I think I am inspired to write my own maternity leave blog post….


  3. Posted by Moo on July 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I thought maybe one of those hot, underwear-only days had started something…


  4. Posted by Will on July 29, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Love your blog – see you on Tuesday


  5. Posted by Kristi on August 1, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I like the idea of the prenatal stipend…its amazing how expensive babies can be even before they are born lol.


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