Family Service

Parental Allowance (Elterngeld)

Parental Allowance is a state substitute for reduced income while raising a child. It is also available to parents who had no income before the child was born.

There are three types of Parental Allowance:

  • Basic Parental Allowance (Basiselterngeld)
  • Parental Allowance Plus (Elterngeld Plus)
  • Partner Bonus months (Partnerschaftsbonus)

The majority of the parents decide to take Basic Parental Allowance.

Eligibility criteria

As a mother or father, you can receive Parental Allowance if the following conditions are met:

  • You are looking after and raising your child yourself
  • You either do not work at all or do not work more than 30 hours per week
  • You and your child live in the same household
  • You live in Germany
  • You apply for at least two months
  • If applicable: Your resident status provides eligibility for application (non EU citizens)

Possible duration of payment

Parental Allowance can be claimed by parents in different ways: following each other, parallel or alternating.

Basic Parental Allowance:
One parent can claim Parental Allowance for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 months. Additional 2 months are granted if the other parent also claims Parental Allowance. It is not possible to claim only one month.
Together, parents can claim 14 months of payment for the first 14 months of the childs life. Single parents can claim 14 months alone. In gerneral, during the first two months of the child's life there is no eligibility for Parental Allowance for the mother, because during this period she is usually substituted by Maternal Pay. The remaining 12 months of Parental Allowance can be split between the parents as they like. If parental leave is taken at the same time by both parents, two months are used up at once.

Parental Allowance Plus:
Parents can decide to claim Parental Allowance Plus instead of Parental Allowance or mix both allowances. Parental Allowance Plus is paid twice as long as Parental Allowance, but the substitution is in general only half the amount per month.

Partner Bonus months:
Four months of Partner Bonus can be claimed directly following Parental Allowance if both parents work betweeen 25 and 30 hours a week during this period. This subsitute will be paid as Parental Allowance Plus. Single parents can also take Partner Bonus months.

Level of amount paid

Depending on your income you will receive Basic Parental Allowance of between EUR 300 and 1800 a month and Parental Allowance Plus of between EUR 150 and 900 a month. This can be higher if you already have children or if you are expecting twins, triplets or other multiples. The minimum amount is paid even if you had no prior income or if your income during parental leave stays the same as before the child's birth (e.g. you continue to work part-time with the same hours and salary).

There is a calculator that you can use to estimate your Parental Allowance (in German): Calculator

Basic Parental Allowance:
The amount is about 65% of the average net income of the last 12 months prior to the child's birth. Parents who haven´t worked prior to their child's birth get the minimum amount of 300 €.

Parental Allowance Plus und Partner bonus months:
The amount is between 150 € and 900 € monthly. It is paid twice as long as Basic Parental Allowance. Parents have to work part-time (between 25-30 h) during this period.

Part-time work and Parental Allowance

Your income from part-time work will be taken into account, while receiving Parental Allowance.

Mothers: Parental Allowance for the first two months after birth

In the first two months of the child's life Parental Allowance is only paid if Maternity Pay is not. However, these two months will be treated as used months of Parental Allowance even if Maternity Pay has been paid.  

Payment of Parental Allowance if fixed-term work contract ends

If a fixed-term work contract ends during the payment of Parental Allowance, nothing changes. Parental Allowance is paid to the extent and the amount as estimated before.

Parental Allowance for Non-EU citizens

It depends on your residence status and sometimes agreements between countries if you are eligible to apply for Parental Allowance or not. This leaflet can help to find out if you are eligible: Rights of residence for researchers from non-EU countries

When and where to apply

The application should be done during the first three months after the child's birth. Each parent has to apply singularly and has to fix the months of individual payment of Parental Allowance. It is only possible to change this afterwards in case of hardship.

The application has to be made at Landesamt für soziale Dienste in Neumünster (not in Kiel!)

Here is the  Application form (in German)

Visiting address:

Landesamt für soziale Dienste
Steinmetzstraße 1-11
24534 Neumünster

Phone: 0049 4321 913-5
Fax: 049 4321 13338

Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 9 and 12 a.m. for visitors without appointment.

Innovation of parental allowance from 1st September 2021

The German Bundestag has decided on an innovation for parental allowance. Following changes will take effect from 1st September 2021.

Expansion of possible work hours in part-time employment during parental allowance to 32 hours a week

Expansion of possible work hours during Partner bonus months to 30 hours a week

Proof of houres worked during parental allowance only in exceptional cases

Unchanged parental allowance during earnings replacement benefits (e.g. sickness benefit, Kurzarbeitsgeld)

Additional parental allowance month for parents with premature deliveries
  6 weeks before the due date: + 1 month  parental allowance
12 weeks before the due date: + 3 months parental allowance
16 weeks before the due date: + 4 months parental allowance

Inclusion of income from self-employed work for parental allowance

Reduction of limitation for parental allowance for top earners to 300.000€ of shared income per year
(still 250.000€ for single parents)

Further information from the Federal Gouverment here (in German).

Detailed Information

You can find detailed information in the federal brochure Parental Allowance, Parental Allowance Plus and Parental Leave





Bettina Bolterauer, Telefon: +49 (0)431 880 2019
Celine Pump, Telefon: +49 (0)431 880 5221
Fax: +49 (0)431 880 1751
Visiting address: Christian-Albrechts-Platz 4, 24118 Kiel, room: 1411
Postal address: Christian-Abrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Familien-Service, Olshausenstr. 40, 24098 Kiel