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Caregivers leave

Country of implementation
Germany
General short description of the innovation
The caregivers leave act came initially into force in June 2008. Since then, all employees have had the right to take a break from their working life for a short period of up ten working days in order to organize suitable care arrangements (or provide the care themselves) for a close relative in acute need for care. However, during this short-term leave, employers were not obliged to continue the payment of wages, unless this has been agreed by a collective agreement. In addition to this general rule, persons working in a company with more than 15 employees were given the opportunity to extend their caregivers leave up to six months in order to look after a close relative in acute need of nursing care. In this respect again, the employer was not obliged to continue paying the employee¡s salary. However, the employees concerned were covered by a special dismissal protection. In 2012, the caregiver leave in Germany had been reformed fundamentally. Now, the caregivers leave shall enable employees to better combine their work commitments with care obligations. For a maximum period of two years, employees have the right to reduce their weekly working time to a minimum of 15 hours to perform care at home for a close relative. This new regulation, however, is exclusively designed for full-time employees or long part-timers because weekly working-time has to be reduced by at least 15 hours. During the whole period of caregivers leave, the employer is obliged to pay 75% of previous wage. However, the excess payment is legally seen as a kind of advance payment or interest-free loan that has to be repaid by the respective employee after returning to his/her workplace. In addition, employees concerned have to take out an insurance policy that guarantees the repayment of the wages already paid by the employer in case of death or invalidity of the policyholder. In contrast to the former rules, employers¡ consentis required if an employee aims to take caregivers leave.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • family
  • wage
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
January 2012; at present there is no limit foreseeable
Scope of innovation
  • Budgets: No budgetary resources. The caregivers leave has to be financed by the employees concerned.
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: Not applicable
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The caregivers leave shall enable employees to better combine their work commitments with care obligations
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • typical strategy for the innovation (optional; according to Obinger)-flexicurity
  • typical strategy for the innovation (optional; according to Obinger)-others (Strengthening/Stressing the role of families with regard to elderly care. )
Type of innovation
  • new form of policy-making
New outputs
  • bargaining (There is the possibility to improve the scheme by collective agreements )
  • leave schemes
Intended target group
All employees with close relatives in need of care
Working age population
  • main source of income: paid work
Employers-private institutional actors
Companies, employer associations and trade unions
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-beneficiaries/users (Employees have to apply for caregivers leave and have to take the financial risks. )
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-central state
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-employees (organised or individual)
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-employers (organised or individual)
Clarification of the role of various actors
Employers¡ consent is required if an employee aims to take caregivers leave. There is the possibility to improve the scheme by collective agreements. Employees have to apply for caregivers leave and have to take the financial risks exclusively. Employers¡ risk is minimized by pledging the employee to take out an insurance policy that guarantees the repayment of the wages already paid by the employer in case of death or invalidity of the policyholder.
Intended output
  • leave schemes
Intended and unintended outcomes
Very low demand for the caregivers leave until the end of January 2013. Only 123 respective insurance policies were taken out until this point in time.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
No impact on labour market resilience. There might be some positive impacts on labour market inclusion / because employees now are able to interrupt an existing employment relation instead of quitting it completely.
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