17.12.2021 Newsletter

Coalition agreement & labour law: time for the family

On 24 November 2021, the new coalition agreement of the forthcoming government of SPD, Bündnis90/Die Grünen and FDP was published. In the form of a short series of articles, we would like to inform you of the statements contained in the coalition agreement on labour law and the concrete effects of the plans. Today’s topic: time for the family.

The statement

"[...] We will simplify parental benefits, digitise them and strengthen joint parental responsibility. We will introduce two weeks' paid leave for partners after the birth of a child. [...] In the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth, maternity leave and partner’s leave will be granted after the 20th week of pregnancy.

We will extend the “partner months” in case of the basic parental benefit by one month, correspondingly also for single parents. [...] For parents whose children are born before the 37th week of pregnancy, we are extending the entitlement to parental benefit. We are making the basic and maximum amounts of parental benefits dynamic payments.

We are extending the protection against dismissal on grounds of parental leave by three months after the return to work in order to safeguard the return to work.

We will increase the number of sick days for children to 15 days per child and parent and to 30 days for single parents." (Coalition agreement between SPD, Bündnis90/Die Grünen and FDP, p. 100 et seq.)

The effects

In the coalition agreement, the parties of the “traffic light” coalition are taking up and expanding family policy issues from the previous legislative period. With the targets set, it would appear that politicians have heard the loud cries of family associations over the last two years for a better reconciliation of family and work. The corona pandemic and the ability to reconcile home office and home schooling, in particular, have left their mark. Many policy decisions to deal with the corona pandemic were drastic in many areas, especially for working parents.

The planned changes focus on an equal distribution and more time for looking after the family. It certainly will not be possible to achieve the goals set out in the coalition agreement without involving employers. Thus, in the current legislative period, the “traffic light” coalition is planning a series of changes aimed at improving the compatibility of work and family life, while simultaneously requiring appropriate action by employers. The planned changes are not just a question of setting objectives, but rather of implementing them. The next four years will show whether and how the "traffic light” coalition is actually going to implement its family policy plans and what concrete role employers will play.

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