Sick days for children. If you take care of your sick child, you can take time off from your job and receive sick pay for children. Stiftung Warentest explains the rules for this. © Adobe Stock / Tatyana Tomsickova
If children are ill, parents can apply for children’s sick pay from their health insurance fund. During the corona pandemic, this also applies when school or daycare centers are closed.
- Children’s sick leave: Paid special leave
- Sick pay for children instead of continued payment of wages
- Corona special regulations
- Children’s sick pay: Requirements
- Children’s sick pay: Amount and application
- Entitlement for short-time work
- Entitlement for self-employed persons
- This applies to privately insured persons
- Regulation for federal civil servants
- Compensation for loss of earnings for parents
Children’s sick pay: Paid special leave
Earache, fever, diarrhea or bronchitis – children are often ill. For working parents, this is usually an organizational feat of strength. Section 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB) stipulates that employees must be released from their jobs for unavoidable and non-culpable reasons without having their wages reduced. This also includes the illness of a child under the age of eight, provided a medical certificate is available and the parents are not absent from work for more than five days. (Federal labor court Az. 5 AZR 834/76). The catch: Section 616 may be excluded in the collective bargaining agreement or employment contract, for example with the wording "A claim to remuneration exists only for work actually performed".
Tip: For information on the rules that apply if you fall ill yourself, see our Special on sick pay: Entitlement, duration, amount, calculation.
Sick pay for children instead of continued payment of wages
If the employer does not pay the salary during the child’s illness, the health insurance fund will step in for legally insured employees. It pays the so-called children’s sick pay.
Corona surcharge for children’s sick days
For each legally insured parent, there is retroactive sick pay from the 5th day onwards. January 2021 for the care of the sick child 30 child sick days, single parents are entitled to 60 days. Those who have more children have more days available. However, an upper limit applies. It is 65 working days per parent, for single parents it is 130 days.
Corona special regulations
Due to the Corona pandemic, parents can currently also use the child sickness benefit if the school or daycare center is completely or partially closed – and they therefore have to care for the child at home. This also applies if they work or could work in a home office. The fund needs a certificate from the institution concerned for this. This special rule applies until 31.12.2021.
Sick pay for children: Requirements
- The parents have been released from work without pay,
- The child is not yet 12 years old (this age limit does not apply if the child is handicapped and dependent on assistance),
- There is no other person living in the household who can take care of the child,
- The doctor deems it necessary to care for the child and issues a corresponding certificate from the first day of illness – or the child must be cared for at home because the daycare center or school is closed due to Corona. In the latter case, the institution must issue a certificate stating that the institution is completely or partially closed or that individual classes or groups are not being taught or supervised.
Important: If one parent has private health insurance and this also applies to the child, there is no entitlement to children’s sick pay. If the child has to stay at home due to the pandemic, privately insured persons and parents entitled to assistance can claim wage replacement benefits for the children’s sick days in accordance with §56 of the Infection Protection Act.
Independent. Objective. Incorruptible.
Children’s sick pay: Amount and application
Calculation. If all points are met, the health insurance company pays 90 percent of the regular net wage from the first day. Anyone who has received one-time payments such as Christmas or vacation pay in the last twelve months before claiming children’s sick pay will receive the original net salary. The maximum daily rate for children’s sick pay is 112.88 euros.
Important: Because the payments do not appear on the salary statement, parents must declare the children’s sick pay received on their tax return.
How to apply for children’s sick pay
Entitlement for short-time work
Parents on short-time work can also apply for children’s sickness benefit if they are insured by law. Short-term employee benefits and children’s sickness benefits may not be received at the same time. Parents with a mini-job (450-euro-job) are not entitled to child sickness benefit. Because they are not liable to health insurance.
Entitlement for self-employed persons
Voluntarily insured self-employed persons can also apply for children’s sick pay – if they themselves are insured with a claim to sick pay. You are entitled to child sickness benefit from the child’s first day of illness. This also applies to the extended entitlement during the Corona pandemic.
This applies to privately insured persons
If you have private health insurance, you are not entitled to child sickness benefit. If privately insured parents have to take care of their child due to the pandemic-related closure of daycare centers or schools and are therefore unable to work, they are entitled to compensation for loss of earnings from the state (§56 of the Infection Protection Act).
Regulation for federal civil servants
Corona regulation. The doubling and extension of children’s sick pay in the Corona period also applies to federal civil servants, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. You will receive special paid leave accordingly. The rules for state civil servants are determined by each state. Civil servants in Thuringia, for example, can claim the same children’s sick days as employees with statutory health insurance.
Usual rules. Otherwise, according to the Ordinance on Special Leave for Federal Civil Servants, Judges and Magistrates (SUrlV), federal civil servants may take up to four days of special leave per child if the child is "seriously ill and under 12 years of age". Some regulations for state civil servants have adopted these rules under the heading "leave for personal reasons" (see, for example, NRW). State civil servants should in any case look at the regulation valid for their federal state.
Tip: If there is nothing about special leave in the employment contract, it is worthwhile to check the company agreements or the collective agreement. For state civil servants, the special leave ordinance or the special leave regulations of the federal states apply. If you are unsure, you can ask the personnel department or the works council – ideally before your child falls ill for the first time.
Compensation for loss of earnings for parents
All working parents have this entitlement according to § 56 of the Infection Protection Act, regardless of their entitlement to children’s sick pay. The same age limits apply as for children’s sick pay. The allowance amounts to 67 percent of the net income (maximum of. 2,016 per month) and is valid for a total of ten weeks per parent, 20 weeks for single parents – this period can be divided by days. This regulation is valid until the age of 30. June 2021. Children’s sick pay and compensation cannot be claimed at the same time.