Questions about parental leave: part-time work, termination and the workplace

We explain the possibility of working part-time during or after parental leave, as well as other important questions regarding re-entry.

Questions about parental leave: part-time work, termination and the workplace

© Jurgen Falchle –

Parental leave (formerly "parental leave") is intended to provide parents with economic security during the care and upbringing of their child.

We explain what exactly parental leave is, how it can be applied for and what you can expect after the end of parental leave.
You will also find out what will change as a result of the new regulations on parental leave for births from 01. July 2015 will be concretized.

1. What is parental leave?

Parental leave is an employee’s right to be released from work for a certain period of time to care for his or her child.
The employment relationship remains in force during this period, it is merely suspended and is revived at the end of the parental leave period. The employee then has a right to return to work and to continue to work.

2. Who can apply for parental leave?

Who exactly is entitled to apply for parental leave is specified in§ 15 Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (BEEG) governs. Employees who live in a household with their child up to the age of three or with the child of their spouse and who are responsible for the care and upbringing of this child are entitled to parental leave.
The entitlement to parental leave can be waived under certain, in§ 15 para.1a BEEG described in more detail, also exist for grandparents.

Parental leave can be taken by either parent alone or by both parents together.

3. How to apply for parental leave?

Parental leave must be applied for in writing to the employer. We have prepared a sample letter for you to use as a guide for your application. You must apply for parental leave during the first three years of the child’s life at least seven weeks before the start of parental leave.

If you would like to take parental leave in the event of a birth from 01.07.2015 to apply for parental leave after the child has reached the age of three, a period of at least 13 weeks applies.

4. How long does parental leave last??

Up to now, parents could take parental leave until the child reached the age of three.
However, parental leave should be granted for births on or after 01. July 2015 to be made significantly more flexible. In accordance with this new regulation, parents can also apply for parental leave after the child’s third birthday. In the future, up to 24 months, which they have not yet taken, are to be granted for the period between the 3. and the 8. The period for which parental leave can be applied for before the child’s eighth birthday. Until now, parental leave could only be divided into two periods per partner. As of July 2015, it will be possible to divide parental leave into up to three periods.
The employer’s consent will also no longer be required when the new regulations come into force.

However, he or she may refuse to take a third period of parental leave within eight weeks of receipt of the application for urgent operational reasons if this period is to be between the third and eighth year of the child’s life.

5. Am I entitled to the same job after parental leave??

No, the entitlement is not to the same job, but only to an equivalent job. The employer’s right to refer the employee to an equivalent job arises from its management or. Right to issue instructions (§ 106 GewO). The employer must also remain within the scope of its right to issue instructions when it comes to the concrete design of the new workplace. Thus, for example, it is also not excluded that the employee must change the place of work, How far the employer’s right to issue instructions extends, results in particular from the respective employment contract agreements.

However, whether such an exercise actually exists must always be examined in each individual case on the basis of the specific circumstances.

6. Can I work part-time during parental leave??

First try to find a mutually agreeable solution with your employer! The BEEG initially seeks to have the employee and employer reach a mutual agreement on such a part-time arrangement. The employee may therefore request a reduction in working hours from the employer (§ 15 Abs. 5 BEEG). Both parties have the option of agreeing on the scope and distribution of working hours; however, the maximum limit of 30 hours per week must be observed.

If the employee has already worked part-time before taking parental leave, he or she can continue to do so during parental leave without any problems, provided the maximum limit is observed.

If, however, no agreement could be reached with the employer, the employee nevertheless has a (legal) claim to the reduction of his or her working time if the following requirements are met (§ 15 Abs. 7 BEEG):

  1. The employer must employ more than 15 employees, not counting apprentices.
  2. The employment relationship between the employer and the employee must have existed for more than six months.
  3. The part-time position is to be held for at least two months, with an average weekly workload of 15- 30 hours (if the
    If the employee works less than 15 hours per week, he or she must obtain the consent of his or her employer.).
  4. The entitlement must not be precluded by any urgent operational reasons.
  5. The employer must be notified in writing of the assertion of the claim seven weeks before the start of work.

If it is a birth after 01.07.In 2015, the notification must be made 13 weeks before the start date if parental leave is sought between the child’s third and eighth birthday.

If these requirements are met, the employee is entitled to the part-time position; however, the employee can only assert this claim twice during the entire parental leave period.

There are now a few formalities to consider: The written notification of the assertion of the claim (application) must contain the start and scope of the reduced working hours as well as the desired distribution of the working hours.

If the employer wishes to reject the application, it must do so within four weeks with written justification. For births after 01.07.2015, where parental leave is requested between the third and eighth birthdays, the rejection period is eight weeks. If he fails to meet this deadline, his consent is deemed to have been granted under the new legislation. In the event of a timely refusal, the employee may file a complaint with the labor court.

7. Can I demand to work only part-time after parental leave??

Even though the child may be out of the woods after parental leave, being a parent requires not only a lot of energy, but also time. Many parents therefore wish to switch from full-time employment to part-time after parental leave. But can you demand this from your employer so easily??

The answer is: In principle, yes, but only under certain conditions. However, this entitlement is independent of parental leave and is governed by the Part-Time and Fixed-term Employment Act (TzBfG). The requirements for the right to a reduction in working hours are listed in §§ 8 TzBfG:

  1. The employment relationship between the employer and the employee must have existed for more than six months.
  2. The employer must employ more than 15 employees, not including trainees.
  3. The employee must submit a request for a reduction in working hours and the extent of the reduction no later than three months before it is to begin, stating the desired distribution of working hours.
  4. No operational reason stands in the way of this. This is the case, for example, if the employer can prove that the reduction in working hours would have a significant impact on the organization, workflow or safety in the company or would cause disproportionate costs. Please note that- in contrast to "part-time during parental leave- no urgent operational reason is required, but only a "simple" reason.

If the conditions are met, the employee should try to reach an agreement with the employer on a part-time arrangement. If the employer refuses, he must inform the employee in writing at least one month before the desired start of part-time work.
If no agreement has been reached or the employer has not rejected the employee’s request (or has not done so in time), the part-time arrangement requested by the employee applies.
Once the part-time arrangement is in effect, the employer can only change the fixed distribution of working hours if its operational interest outweighs the employee’s interest in maintaining the distribution of working hours; moreover, the employer must give the employee one month’s notice of the change.

8. Can I be terminated during parental leave?

During parental leave, you have special protection against dismissal. This means that your employer can not terminate you in principle.

Something else applies only in very specific exceptional cases (e.g.B. shutdown, particularly gross breach of duty by the employee). In addition, the employer must always obtain the approval of the responsible authority for a termination during parental leave.

This special protection against dismissal begins as soon as parental leave is registered. In the case of parental leave before the child reaches the age of three, however, the earliest possible date is eight weeks beforehand; under the new regulations, the earliest possible date is 14 weeks beforehand in the case of parental leave after the child reaches the age of three.

9. Can I be terminated directly after parental leave?

Special protection against dismissal ends at the end of parental leave. They are therefore treated like any other employee and can be dismissed under the general conditions.
So this regularly means that the employer needs a reason for the termination and has to observe the relevant notice periods.

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