Family organisations critise the plans for cuts on parental leave allowance and other family-supporting benefits

Berlin, July 04, 2023 – Family organisations are appalled by the coalition’s plans to place a greater burden on families by implementing restrictions on parental leave allowance and other family-supporting benefits.

“This is a very bad signal to families and especially to couples planning to start a family,” says Dr. Klaus Zeh, chairman of the Association of German Family Organizations, explaining, “actually, there is a need for further improvements instead of deteriorations in parental leave allowance, as parental allowance has not been increased since its introduction – neither for the lower nor for the middle income groups.”

The associations emphasize that the parental leave allowance is an established benefit that reaches many families, supports the realization of the desire to have children and significantly relieves parents with young children. A lowering of the upper income limit from 500,000 euros to 300,000 per couple already took place in 2021, which was hard but bearable because it affected couples with above-average incomes. However, a reduction to 150,000 euros, which is currently under discussion, would hit parents for whom parental allowance is of great importance.

In addition, the new regulation is also highly questionable in terms of equality policy, because experience shows that without wage replacement benefits, women will generally take over childcare. Although the cut would not hit families affected by poverty, it would hit the middle of society and thus people who usually bear the brunt of society with a very high tax rate and who often do not have high assets at their disposal. More and more parents would increasingly go empty-handed in the future in terms of parental allowance if the plans were implemented, especially since no inflation adjustment of the upper limit was planned.

The decision would come immediately after yesterday’s hearing on a current petition supported by 66,302 people. In it, it is quite rightly pointed out that the increase in parental allowance rates is urgently needed and is also provided for in the coalition agreement. Instead, the federal government now wants to cancel the parental allowance completely for some families.

In view of the pending decisions at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, the associations are aghast at how families are to be treated. Because apart from the shortening with the parental leave benefit cuts there are cuts for the students supporting programs (BAföG) on the program. In addition, there are increasing signs that the coalition is no longer planning any substantial progress in the fight against poverty among families and children: A basic child allowance worthy of the name is not in sight, and the National Action Plan for the social inclusion children at risk of poverty, which is also to be adopted tomorrow, offers little prospect of reducing child poverty.

“Apparently, the government has forgotten that during the Corona period, the maintenance of daily life was largely on the families shoulders. Even then, their interests were given secondary consideration by politicians for a long time. There is a great deal of disappointment and anger left behind among the families from that time, and the government is doing its part to reinforce this,” Dr. Zeh said.