Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy
The Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz) introduced parental allowance as a family benefit in respect of children born on or after 1 January 2007. To be eligible, claimants must have a permanent or common residence in Germany, live in the same household as their child, look after and bring up that child themselves and not engage in paid employment or, as the case may be, in full-time paid employment. Mothers and fathers are equally entitled.
Even if the child is not his or her natural child, the spouse or civil partner of the natural mother or father may receive parental allowance if both spouses or partners live in the same household. In more than 99% of cases, however, the beneficiaries are the biological parents, so that in the following simplified reference is made to mothers and fathers.
The figure for fathers receiving a share of parental allowance represents the percentage of children whose fathers received parental allowance as a percentage of all children born in a particular year for whom parental allowance was received. For the children born in 2008, fathers received parental allowance in 21.2% of cases, and this figure rose to 40.4% by 2017. The proportion of children whose mothers received parental allowance in the same period was far higher, amounting to about 98% in every year.
Although the percentage of fathers receiving parental allowance increased over time, the average period for which they received the allowance declined slightly from 3.7 months for children born in 2008 to 3.4 months for children born in 2017.
These two effects also impacted on the development of the overall average period for which parental allowance was received by all fathers, i.e. including those who did not receive any allowance. At the same time, the increase in the percentage of fathers receiving the allowance outweighed the decline in the period of receipt. The average period for which fathers in general obtained parental allowance increased from 0.8 of a month for children born in 2008 to 1.4 months for those born in 2017. By comparison, the average period for which mothers in general received parental allowance rose from 11.5 months for children born in 2008 to 13.2 months for those born in 2017.
The indicator is based on data from the parental allowance statistics, in which all payments of personal allowance are recorded on a quarterly basis. The figures relate in each case to the year of birth of the child for whom the allowance has been granted. The figure used to calculate the value of the indicator is the number of children for whom parental allowance was actually granted, not the total number of children born in Germany. This is intended to avoid the inclusion in the calculation of children for whom there is no entitlement to parental allowance, such as the children of foreign asylum-seekers.
It is not yet possible to differentiate precisely on the basis of the parental allowance statistics between types of partnership in which the eligible persons are living, i.e. whether it is a same-sex partnership Therefore, for the purpose of calculating the indicator, it is assumed for simplification that exactly one father is entitled to benefits for each child.
For children born before 1 July 2015, the maximum period for which parental allowance could be received was 14 months. Parents whose children were born on or after 1 July 2015 are able to choose between basic parental allowance, parental allowance plus or a combination of both and can also obtain an additional partnership bonus in the form of four extra monthly payments of parental allowance plus. As a result, the period of receipt can be considerably extended.