We do our best to earn the title of our students’ Second Family. However, we know that most of our readers have their first and only family, their loved ones. In this article, we list everything one needs to know about family and child benefits in Germany.
To start with, working for a German employer means being able to move to Germany together with your loved ones. No more family separation due to working abroad. Moreover, all parents are entitled to child benefits to offset the cost of raising children. In this blog post, we will tell you what exactly you as a parent can take advantage of as a foreign national living in Germany.
Parental Leave (Elternzeit)
Parental leave is a legal entitlement to time off work, given to both parents. To apply for Elternzeit one needs to notify the employer 7 weeks in advance in the writing form, specifying the time planned to stay off work during the leave. How much time is the parental leave? Well, according to German law, up to three years, thus anytime between your child’s birth and third birthday. It’s also important to mention that you can save up to 2 years of parental leave for later, thus taking another 24 months off work between your child’s 2nd and 7th birthday. To do so, you also need to notify your employer and get their approval.
Child Benefit (Kindergeld)
Kindergeld is a benefit available to all parents in Germany, regardless of the income they have. Child benefit is provided by the Family Benefits Office, so its local representation needs to be visited by parents to apply for Kindergeld. Although only one of the parents is entitled to the Child Benefit, so the family needs to decide who it will be. How much can you claim? It only depends on the number of children you have at the moment. If you have one or two children, you’re entitled to receive 219 euros for each of them. For the third child you can claim 225 euros and for the fourth and more — 250 euros each.
Parental Allowance (Elterngeld)
Elterngeld is a benefit for new parents by the German social security system, aimed to help the parents overcome the loss of earnings caused by the birth of a child. How much can you claim? Well, it depends on the amount of money you’ve been making for 12 months before the baby was born. The minimum amount is around 300 euros per month, and the maximum is 1800 euros monthly. A nice thing about it is that both parents can claim the Allowance. You can apply for the parental allowance online via the Elterngeld Digital portal.
It’s important to mention the scheme called ElterngeldPlus, which is allowed for those parents who wish to return to work sooner. It enables to spread the benefit payments over a longer period by receiving half of the regular parental allowance over a max period of 2 years.
Parents can make tax savings by deducting their expenses for childcare (up to 4.000 euros a year) and school (up to 5.000 euros). Also, there’s a possibility to apply for a one-time tax-free child allowance instead of the monthly ones. As of 2021, this is 5.460 euros per child. This needs to be done by applying to the tax office (Finanzamt) which will compare the amount of child benefit you are receiving to the amount you could save if the tax-free child allowance were granted to you. If a tax-free child allowance turns out to be more profitable for you, you will be given it minus the amount of benefit that you have received by that time.
There’s so much more to tell about the benefits you can claim while working in Germany, but those are outside the focus of our today’s article. This time we’ve covered all those benefits regarding family. We at GLP can’t wait to share more so that there’s no doubt left that working in Germany is a dream. Stay tuned!