There is now more clarity for families who have a care problem with the lockdown extension.
The coalition groups have decided to double the entitlement to child sickness benefits for those with statutory health insurance.
The heads of government at the federal and state levels had promised last week.
The change in the law still has to be passed by the Bundestag and should then apply retrospectively to January 5th.
However, that doesn't help everyone.
“There are many parents who are still alone with their care problem,” says Katrin Helling-Plahr, health politician for the FDP.
These include above all the many privately insured people, but also numerous self-employed.
Other aspects give cause for criticism.
WELT answers important questions.
How long can parents now receive child sickness benefit?
The statutory health insurance usually pays children's sickness benefit for ten days if parents cannot go to work because of the care of a sick child under the age of 12.
The coalition has now doubled the claim:
Instead of ten, legally insured parents should now be able to apply for 20 days of child sickness benefit per child and parent for the year 2021.
Single parents have 40 instead of 20 childhood illness days, regardless of whether they work full or part time.
What is new is that the child does not have to be sick.
What are the requirements?
Only those with statutory health insurance are entitled.
The extra days can be used when schools and day-care centers are closed, compulsory attendance is suspended or access to the day-care center has been restricted.
This also applies to parents who could work in the home office.
There must be no other person in the household who can look after the child.
The Greens see the regulation as an important signal to parents.
But it is "neither sustainable nor comprehensive enough," says Maria Klein-Schmeink, deputy parliamentary group leader of the Green parliamentary group.
Because the period of 20 days per parent is tight.
“Depending on the course of the pandemic, an extension of the regulation could soon be necessary,” she says.
Many parents would quickly have used up all their childhood sick days due to a pandemic.
"You are then no longer entitled if the child really gets sick," complains Klein-Schmeink.
How much money is there a day?
Child sickness benefit
amounts to 70 percent of the gross wage up to the
, but not more than 90 percent of the last net
, up to a
112.88 euros per day and child.
The money comes from the health insurers.
How do you get the money?
It is sufficient to submit a certificate from the daycare center or school to the health insurance company.
The umbrella association of statutory health insurances points out that the evidence must show the exact reasons, for example "pandemic-related closure" or "entry ban".
The health insurance companies also needed information about the period for which the care was provided and that no other person in the household could provide care.
Furthermore, the employer - as is the case with children's sickness benefit - has to transmit the necessary pay data for the calculation of the children's sickness benefit to the health insurers.
Is the procedure the same for all health insurers?
The answer is not yet.
However, the health insurers strive for the most uniform possible application procedure.
This is currently being examined, according to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds.
That means: Until the exam has been completed, everyone should ask their health insurance company how exactly the entitlement must be proven.
Who is not entitled?
Because the statutory health insurance companies make the payment, those with private insurance do not benefit from the regulation.
"And there are also many self-employed among those with statutory health insurance who have a tariff without child sickness benefit," says FDP politician Helling-Plahr.
They too are not entitled to the additional days.
The Association of Private Health Insurance (PKV) considers the regulation to be problematic.
“The compensation for parents foregoing wages and employers forgoing work would have to be financed by the federal government from tax revenue,” is the demand - and thus equally for everyone.
Especially since the money for the additional childhood sick days does not come from the contributors of the statutory health insurance, but from the taxpayers.
The statutory health insurance companies receive a grant of 300 million euros from the federal government.
What can parents do if they do not receive child sickness benefit?
The state's wage replacement benefit according to the Infection Protection Act continues to apply.
There are fewer than in the childhood illness days.
Similar to the short-time work allowance, a wage replacement of 67 percent of the net wage is provided if parents lose earnings due to looking after children up to the age of twelve, a maximum of 2016 euros per month.
The entitlement also applies longer, namely for a total of 20 weeks, ten weeks for each parent, 20 weeks for single parents.
Ulrich Silberbach, Chairman of the Beamtenbunds dbb, points out that in the public service some employers in the federal, state and local government have made special special leave regulations and grant a certain number of paid days off if employees cannot work because of sick children.
Who is also left out of the regulation of the Infection Protection Act?
Klein-Schmeink describes this regulation as inadequately designed.
The entitlement to ten weeks per parent exists “only once and therefore over a year”.
That means: Parents who were already affected by the lockdown in 2020 may have already used up their entitlements in whole or in part.
There is no entitlement if parents can work from home.
The regulation is limited to the end of March.
FDP health expert Helling-Plahr also reports on those affected who have to wait a long time for state reimbursement and complain about too much bureaucracy.
In addition, the regulation cannot be used if the daycare center is still open.
How does the application for compensation according to the Infection Protection Act work?
The money is paid out by the employer.
The employer transfers the money and gets it back from the state.
The self-employed apply directly.
Depending on the federal state, different authorities are responsible for the payment.
It is best to inquire about it at the local health department.
Do parents have to take vacation days first?
According to the federal government, parents can be expected to first use “the vacation from the previous year to ensure childcare during the daycare or school closings” with regard to compensation under the Infection Protection Act.
Holidays that have already been planned in advance, which should be taken during the period of daycare or school closings, must also be used.
Employees, on the other hand, could not be obliged to take all of their annual leave for the current calendar year before they can claim compensation.
Ver.di generally advises against using annual leave to look after the children.