Parental Allowance

Erklärfilm: das Elterngeld

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Parental allowance supports parents, who work less or cease working after their child’s birth to care for him or her. All mothers and fathers are eligible for parental allowance. You can work up to 32 hours per week while in receipt of parental allowance. It is also possible for you not to work. You do not have to interrupt your studies or training to qualify for parental allowance.

You can apply for parental allowance either alone or jointly with the other parent. There are three types of parental allowance: Basic parental allowance, parental allowance plus and partnership bonus.

You are awarded the basic parental allowance for a minimum of two months and up to 12 months of your child’s life if only one parent takes up parental allowance. If both of you take up parental allowance, between you, you can draw it for 14 months of your child’s life. If your child was born at least six weeks early, you can draw parental allowance for longer. Depending on how early your child was born, you can get parental allowance for up to 18 months of their life. You can freely split the months you receive parental allowance between you. You may draw the basic parental allowance concurrently, sequentially or alternately. You also get the additional two months if you are a single parent.

Depending on your income before your child’s birth, basic parental allowance rates vary between 300 and 1800 euros per month. In most cases, they are 65 percent of the net income. Low-income parents receive up to 100 percent of their net income. If you work part-time while drawing parental allowance, this affects the latter’s amount. Your income after your child’s birth will be factored in. If you had no income before your child’s birth, you can get the minimum amount. If you have other small children or will have twins, you can get higher rates.

For example: a mother gets the basic parental allowance during months one to eight after her child’s birth. Subsequently, the father gets the basic parental allowance from the child's ninth to its 14th month. This fully exhausts the parents’ claim to 14 months of basic parental allowance.

With parental allowance plus, you can extend your period of receipt. You can receive parental allowance plus for twice as long as basic parental allowance. If you decide not to work after your child’s birth, parental allowance plus amounts to half the basic parental allowance. If you work part-time after your child’s birth, parental allowance plus can be especially worthwhile, since you often get the same or almost the same amount as with the basic parental allowance, but for a longer period of time. This way, you can get more parental allowance than you would by working part-time and drawing the basic parental allowance. Parental allowance plus ranges between 150 and 900 euros per month.

You can freely combine basic parental allowance with parental allowance plus. Parents who decide to share their family and work duties as equal partners can get the partnership bonus. Specifically, you can get more months of parental allowance plus if both of you work part-time simultaneously. If you are a single parent, it suffices if you alone meet the requirements. You can flexibly take up the partnership bonus to suit your needs: For two, three or four months. You can extend or shorten it at any time. You can use it, when it suits you best: Before, in between or after receiving basic parental allowance and parental allowance plus.

For instance, it might work as follows: The mother gets basic parental allowance during the first four months after birth, the father during the months five and six. Both parents receive parental allowance plus in months seven to 14 of the child’s life. From months 15 to 18 they both work between 24 and 32 hours a week, taking advantage of the partnership bonus. You can use the online Parental Allowance Calculator to get a first idea of how much parental allowance you might receive.

The Parental Allowance Calculator and further information can be found at You can apply for parental allowance in writing at your local parental allowance office (Elterngeldstelle). With the new and free ElterngeldDigital application assistant, you can also –depending on the Federal Land you live in – omplete and directly submit the parental allowance application online at