You are looking forward to your child and wish to spend a lot of time with him/her. Yet how can you reconcile family life with your work, your career? More and more fathers are assuming responsibility for really raising their child together with the mother. They do not want to have the feeling later in life that they have missed out on something so valuable and important as seeing their child growing up.
And even women, often also those with a good education behind them, wish to share the upcoming responsibilities with their partner. Only by sharing the duties is it possible to reconcile family and career.
The classic gender roles, where the father earns the money and the mother stays at home with the child, are being practiced less and less. Usually, women work part-time and manage day-to-day life with children and in the household largely on their own.
Fathers, on the other hand, frequently work 40 hours a week or more, primarily to ensure financial security. They mostly see their children in the evening only, that is, at a time when kids are often tired and cranky.
On the weekend, they then try to catch up on everything which there is no time for during the week. For this reason, the relationship between father and child is often not as intensive as that between mother and child.
With the parental leave model in Germany, there are many combinations and possibilities for organizing family life in a way that is satisfying to all those involved. Ultimately, the most important thing is to create a structure as parents which allows you to spend as much time as possible with your child.
No one should feel overburdened; everyone should be happy with the situation.
And always remember: Even if the first few years with small children can be really strenuous, they are also filled with joy, love and pride. They are full of moments which amaze you again and again, and they pass by so quickly...
Parental leave provides mothers and fathers with the possibility of withdrawing from professional life to devote themselves to looking after their child (in Germany, parental leave can be taken for a maximum of three years ‒ whole or in part ‒ per child). Parents are free to decide who will take advantage of parental leave and for how long. Usually financial considerations are decisive here. Up to 12 months of parental leave may also be taken between the 3rd and 8th birthday of your child.
Admittedly, not all employers are pleased if full use is made of these regulations, but there is an increasing acceptance of it. Companies are recognizing more and more that it pays out in the end to be family-friendly. After all, children are the workforce of the future. The following combinations are possible when taking parental leave in Germany.
- Both parents take parental leave at the same time (the father after birth and the mother after maternity leave has expired) and work part-time ‒ up to 30 hours a week are possible. One partner may work in the morning, for example, and the other in the afternoon.
- The mother takes six months parental leave following maternity leave, while the father works full-time. After that, they swap, with the mother working full-time again and the man looking after the child until he/she is 14 months old. If a daycare opportunity becomes available or if a child minder can look after your child, the father can also work part-time. Once your child reaches 15 months, he/she may be put into daycare for the whole day, allowing both parents to work full-time again.
- The mother works full time following maternity leave and the father takes parental leave for two years following the birth of the child. He can devote himself completely to the baby for one year, for example. It might also be possible during this time to work from home in order to maintain contact with the workplace. If the child goes to kindergarten at the age of 2 years old, the father could then work part-time (up to 30 hours per week).
- The third year of parental leave can be transferred to a later point in time (between the 3rd and 8th birthday of your child). You can take advantage of this, for example, if a brother or sister is to follow soon. By allowing the current and new parental leave to overlap, it is possible to extend the time you can look after your offspring.