Changes to Elterngeld 2024

Changes to parental allowance, new paternity leave, more regular sick days for children and more. Since many months, there has been quite a buzz about sweeping changes to benefits for parents starting in 2024. This has been known for some time but nothing was certain. Now it is finally official.

The German Parliament agreed on this in the discussions on the 2024 federal budget on December 15th in Berlin. Here are the planned changes that will come into effect on April 1, 2024:

The confused Mother - Parental leave in Germany (Elternzeit)
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Elterngeld income threshold

The Elterngeld threshold reduces

So far, the cutoff for getting Elterngeld was a combined income of €300,000 in the year before the birth of their child. For single parents, this income threshold was €250,000.

From 2024, the income threshold for parental allowance will be lowered in two stages. From April 2024, it will fall to €200,000 for couples and from April 2025 to €175,000. The child’s date of birth will be the cut-off date. For all parents whose child is born by March 31, 2024, nothing will change.

Elternzeit: partner months

There will also be changes to the so-called partner months in 2024. Until now, couples will be able to receive up to 14 months of parental allowance if the second parent also takes at least two months of parental leave. However, previously it did not matter whether the partner months were taken simultaneously or consecutively, in future couples will be able to receive money for a maximum of one month at a time. In addition, one of these two months must be taken in the first twelve months of the child’s life.

Starting in April, parents can take only one month of basic Elterngeld together within the first 12 months of the child’s life. However, when one of the parents receives Elterngeld Plus, the other parent can also receive Basic Elterngeld or Elterngeld Plus for more than one month at a time. 

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Couple holding newborn baby

Changes that affect our children

More regular sick days for children

If parents have to stay at home with their sick child, they are entitled to time off and, if they have state health insurance, can receive child sickness benefit for a certain number of days. However, under a new law, the entitlement to child sickness benefit will be increased to up to 15 days for 2024 and 2025. It applies per child and parent. Single parents may receive child sickness benefit for a maximum of 30 child sickness days per child. Parents still need a certificate from the first day of a child’s illness in order to receive child sickness benefit.

Kindergeld (Child benefit) remains unchanged

Child benefit was last increased in January 2023. As part of this increase, the benefit was standardized. Since then, there are no longer any staggered amounts, so parents receive 250 euros regardless of the number of children they have. There are not expected to be any changes in 2024. The child supplement, which is currently 250 euros per month per child and can be applied for from the family benefits office by families with low incomes, will also remain unchanged as things stand.

Child allowance will be increased

However, an increase is planned for the child allowance. It is deducted from the parents’ taxable income and thus has a tax-reducing effect when calculating income tax. For 2023, the tax-free allowance amounted to a total of 6,024 euros. An increase to 6,348 euros was actually planned for 2024. However, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has now announced an increase to 6,612 euros. In addition, there is also an allowance for care and education or training needs, currently amounting to 2,928 euros. Both allowances are added together in the income tax assessment. The tax office then automatically calculates whether it is more worthwhile for the family in question to receive child benefit each month or to use the tax-free allowances – both cannot be used together.

Child maintenance will be increased

As in the previous year, the maintenance rates for underage children will increase as of January 1, 2024 – this time by 9.7 percent. For example, the minimum maintenance for children up to the age of six will increase from 437 euros to 480 euros. For children in the second age group, i.e. up to the age of twelve, the minimum maintenance will then be 551 euros and 645 euros for the third age group up to the age of majority. The current Düsseldorf table, which is used by family courts to determine maintenance, provides information on how much child maintenance must be paid.

Are you affected by these changes? Let me know in the comments.

If you are expecting a child soon and need help filling out your paperwork or have questions about anything related to Elterngeld and Elternzeit, you can book a consultation today!



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