In Germany, around 2.5 million people have to work and take care of one or more family members, for example an elderly person living at home. In order to give them a better help, the German government has recently approved a bill that, for all the duration of the emergency situation caused by the Pandemic, will provide more flexibility and support to all those people who care for a family member at home.
Care support allowance
Until now, employees have received a care support allowance as a wage replacement allowance for a maximum of 10 working days if they find themselves in a difficult situation where they have to provide or arrange care for a family member. The new regulation provides for simplified access to the care support allowance and the possibility to receive the allowance for a maximum of 20 days.
Short-term absence from work
Until now, employees were entitled to up to 10 days leave from work in case of a serious health problem of the person in need of care. The new regulation provides for an entitlement of up to 20 days leave, the prerequisite being that there is a Pandemic-related forced care situation. In this way, family carers are given more time to provide or reorganize care at home if, for example, day care facilities have been closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic or outpatient care services no longer function to the usual extent.
More flexibility between Familienpflegezeit and Pflegezeit
Employees who take on the responsibility for the care of a family member will be able to use Familienpflegezeit and Pflegezeit more flexibly, however the prior consent of the employer is required. Those who have not yet used all the period provided for by law (6 months for Pflegezeit, 24 months for Familienpflegezeit) will be able to use the remaining free time at short notice, provided that it does not exceed the total duration of 24 months.
The notice period will temporarily be only 10 days (instead of the usual 8 weeks) for Familienpflegezeit, whose minimum working time of 15 hours per week can be temporarily reduced by filling in a special form. In addition, the immediate consecutive nature between Familienpflegezeit and Pflegezeit will cease for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency.
Consideration of income losses in financial support through interest-free loans
Loans under the Family Leave Act will also be adjusted to current labour market conditions. Months with income losses due to the pandemic may be disregarded when determining the loan amount at the time of application. Loan repayment will be facilitated for those affected in the administrative procedure.
For more information please always consult the website of the Bundesministerium für Familie Senioren Frauen und Jugend.