BFamily Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) is planning further reforms of family policy. She also wants to open maternity leave to the self-employed. “Equal treatment between self-employed and employees is not easy. But it must also be possible for the self-employed to start a family without too many obstacles,” said the Green politician to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Therefore, we should also allow freelance work for the self-employed.” Paus did not go into detail.
The Maternity Protection Act, which provides for protection periods before and after childbirth and income security during the employment ban, has not yet applied to pregnant and breastfeeding women who work exclusively independently.
Since 2017, self-employed women with private daily sickness allowance insurance have been entitled to payment of the agreed daily sickness allowance during the maternity protection periods. As can be read on the Ministry’s family portal, self-employed persons who are voluntarily insured with a statutory health insurance company receive maternity benefit in the amount of the sickness benefit from the health insurance company during the maternity protection periods. It is crucial that the entitlement to sick pay is also secured.
More details on paternity leave
Paus announced that he would also regulate the planned paternity leave for the first two weeks after a birth on maternity leave. According to the minister, the money for this should come from a fund at the Federal Ministry of Health, which is fed by the employers.
Paus once again named January 1, 2024 as the start date for paternity leave. “We want to do this with a longer lead time so that everyone can prepare for it,” she said. “For small and medium-sized companies, such exemptions are not easy, especially in the crisis.”
She emphasized: “We want to ensure that partners no longer have to take regular vacation time if they want to be there for their child after the birth. The first two weeks are of the utmost importance for both the newborn and the parents. And the exemption supports parents in their wish for a partnership-based division of tasks.”
Paus made it clear that she does not think the concept of paternity leave was successful. The first two weeks with a baby are “anything but vacation”. The word paternity leave is also not appropriate “because children today grow up in a variety of partnerships and partnerships and it is not only fathers who take time off, but also, for example, the mother’s partner”.
The traffic light parties had agreed in the coalition agreement to legally allow two weeks of paid leave after the birth. With the proposed legislation, Germany is implementing an EU directive.