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Time off work for sick children: This is your right as a father

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  • When does my child have to stay at home?
  • Is my employer obliged to give me time off if my child is sick?
  • What do I have to consider if I take sick leave for children?
  • How do I report child sick days to my employer?
  • How many sick days are I entitled to as a parent?
  • Up to what age are children’s sick days allowed?
  • Under what conditions will child sickness benefit be paid to me?
  • What do I have to consider if I claim child sickness benefit?
  • How much is the child sickness benefit?
  • What are the regulations for parents with private health insurance?
  • Conclusion: healthy attitude

Atchoo! Your child is sick and can’t go to daycare? Or to school? Then give your boss a cough. As a working father, you are legally entitled to child sick days, which free you from work. In order to compensate for the loss of earnings while caring for the little patient, you will receive so-called child sickness benefit if you have statutory insurance status. Incidentally, statistics from the Techniker Krankenkasse show that significantly more mothers than fathers apply for this child sickness benefit; the ratio is around 70 to 30 and has been constant for years – but it doesn’t have to stay that way. We will therefore explain to you how to register your child sick days with your employer, how many days you are entitled to as a parent or single parent and how you receive your child sick pay.

When does my child have to stay at home?

It is primarily the parents who decide whether a child is sick and needs to seek medical help. Important in this context: If the child has symptoms such as fever (from 38 degrees), severe cough, headache and diarrhea, he or she is not allowed to go to a daycare center or school for care. So the child has to stay at home, and one parent has to stay at home to look after him, hand out tissues, make tea, read to him. During this time you should also regularly check on the child’s physical well-being. That means: Does he eat and drink normally? Does he play and sleep well? As soon as the child’s symptoms subside and he or she has been free of symptoms for 24 hours, he or she can return to the public facility for care. When receiving medical treatment, the doctor decides when the child can be cared for again.

Is my employer obliged to give me time off if my child is sick?

According to Section 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB), working fathers have the right to be released from work if the child is sick. The employer is therefore obliged to release the father to look after the child’s health, since the father’s leaving the job was not his fault, but rather the child’s illness.

What do I have to consider if I take sick leave for children?

The exemption in the event of a child’s illness applies to biological, step and adopted children. However, no child sick days can be taken for sponsored children. The father has the right if he is the only person who can look after the child. If other non-working family members live in the same house and can look after the child, the father no longer has any entitlement. Incidentally, children’s sick days can only be taken as whole days and for individual days. Important to know: If the father uses the right to child sick days, the employer no longer has to pay wages according to Section 45 SGB V. Instead, he receives child sickness benefit.

How do I report child sick days to my employer?

A temporary absence from work due to a sick child must be reported to the employer. It’s best to inform your boss before you start work that you are staying at home and cannot come to work. Requirement: You need a medical certificate from your pediatrician. The sick note confirms that it is necessary to be absent from work to look after the child. The employer receives a copy of the sick note and the health insurance company receives the original for entitlement to child sickness benefit. The most important legal innovation in this context: Since December 18, 2023, parents who care for a sick child under the age of 12 can also receive a sick note from the pediatrician by telephone. The certificate is valid for a maximum of five days and is sent electronically by the doctor’s office directly to the health insurance company.

How many sick days are I entitled to as a parent?

According to the Nursing Study Strengthening Act, those with statutory health insurance are entitled to 15 days per parent and child per year, i.e. a total of 30 days per family. Single parents are entitled to 30 days per child. The total number of annual entitlement days per parent is 35 working days; single parents have a total of 70 working days per year. This regulation initially applies until the end of 2025.

Up to what age are children’s sick days allowed?

The employee’s time off work to care for the child’s health only applies if: Child is under twelve years old. According to Section 45 SGB V, children’s sick days can only be used if they have not yet reached the age of twelve. There is no age limit for children with disabilities who require assistance.

Under what conditions will child sickness benefit be paid to me?

In order to be entitled to child sickness benefit, father and child must be legally insured. However, if the child has private health insurance with the other parent, the legally insured parent is not entitled to child sickness benefit. If parents have statutory health insurance, they apply for child sickness benefit from their own health insurance company with the sick note from the doctor. As mentioned above, the father must be the only care option in the family, the child is no more than eleven years old and the working father has his own right to sick pay. If these criteria apply, the father is paid child sickness benefit by the health insurance company and the employer records the days of absence as unpaid vacation.

What do I have to consider if I claim child sickness benefit?

Child sickness benefit serves as a wage replacement benefit. The payment of the money is tax-free, but is subject to progression. The tax burden increases because child benefit is included in taxable income. This can lead to additional tax payments. If the amount exceeds 410 euros per year, resulting from various wage replacement benefits such as parental and sick pay, an income tax return must be submitted to the tax office.

How much is the child sickness benefit?

For children under the age of twelve, child benefit usually amounts to 90 percent of the lost net wages. Child sickness benefit is paid for the number of days the father cared for his child.

What are the regulations for parents with private health insurance?

The privately insured parent is entitled to exemption, while the entitlement to child sickness benefit no longer applies. If the right to sick days for children has not been excluded in the employment or collective agreement, up to 5 days per year are available per child and parent.

Conclusion: healthy attitude

As the father of a sick child, you of course have a legal right to take time off work to nurse your child back to health. Requirement: Your child is under twelve years old and everyone else in the household must also have a job. If you have statutory insurance for parents and child, you as a parent also receive child sickness benefit. But for now: get well soon!

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