Plans for so-called paternity leave are put on hold.

“The current crisis is not the right time for this.

We'll do that later," said Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) at an event organized by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Berlin.

Katja Gelinsky

Business correspondent in Berlin

  • Follow I follow

In the medium term, however, companies will have to brace themselves for new burdens: the two-week paid leave of absence for the second parent immediately after the birth is to be anchored in the Maternity Act - and thus be co-financed by the employers.

The alternative would be financing from taxes by anchoring it in the Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act.

"But it makes sense and is logical to do it as part of maternity leave," said Paus.

You can then talk about the amount of compensation.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be 100 percent."

"New legal claim would be the wrong way"

Criticism comes from the CDU: "I reject the fact that employers should pay additional paternity leave," said the family policy spokeswoman for the Union faction, Silvia Breher.

This would result in massive burdens for small and medium-sized companies.

It would make more sense to start with parental allowance and give fathers additional incentives to decide to take parental leave.

"Additional partner months could serve for this." Gitta Connemann (CDU), chairwoman of the SME and Economic Union, added: "From January, social contributions will exceed the 40 percent mark at 40.45 percent for the first time since 2012." Even more Proposing burdens for companies is “irresponsible”.

The Family Ministry originally announced a paternity leave bill for this year.

Family and social organizations would have preferred to see the project implemented as part of the current legislative proposal to improve the compatibility of family and professional life.

Germany is thus implementing the requirements of the EU Compatibility Directive;

this should have happened in August.

The guideline requires a ten-day leave of absence for the partner after the birth of the child.

However, Germany already meets this requirement due to the comprehensive regulations on parental leave and allowances.

From the point of view of the economy, the coalition promise of an exemption that goes beyond the EU requirements is all the more annoying.

"A new legal entitlement to so-called paternity leave would be the wrong approach," criticizes the Confederation of Employers' Associations (BDA).

With parental leave and parental allowance, mothers and fathers would have sufficient opportunities to share gainful employment and family work as partners.

Desire and reality diverge

Family and social organizations argue against this: in order for women to be able to take part in working life to a greater extent, men must be more involved in childcare.

And as early as possible.

For the better compatibility of family and work it is important "that you are there together from the beginning", Paus defended the plans for paternity leave in the Bundestag.

For fathers in this country, the partnership-based division of tasks is theoretically more important than ever.

The Fathers' Report of the Family Ministry states that 48 percent of fathers are of the opinion that ideally both partners should be employed to a similar extent and share housework and family chores.

But that also means that more than half of the fathers have a different opinion.

Even with supposedly progressive fathers, there is a wide gap between desire and reality, as can be seen from the figures on parental leave: on average, fathers currently take about 3.4 months of parental leave;

more than three quarters of fathers who receive parental allowance only take the two partner months.

Spain as a pioneer

Many countries - not only in the EU - already have father-specific regulations on the compatibility of work and family.

However, how much paternity leave is granted is not very meaningful in itself, because it also depends on the structure of the parental leave and the remuneration and then, in turn, on the purchasing power in the respective country.

According to an OECD study from 2021, which takes into account the payment and entitlements of fathers in the context of parental leave, Germany is in the middle of a total of 45 countries.

The most generous paternity regulation in the EU is in Luxembourg, followed by Spain and Iceland.

According to the OECD study, fathers in Luxembourg are entitled to the equivalent of 19 fully paid working weeks, in Germany it is 5.7 weeks.

Looking at paternity leave in isolation, Spain stands out: There, 6 weeks of maternity and paternity leave are mandatory for both parents immediately after the birth of the child and are non-transferrable, according to a paper by the Bundestag's scientific service this summer.