How does the Family Care Act work?

Status: 10/20/2011 4:39 p.m

The Bundestag has passed the controversial law on family care leave. Employees who care for a relative will be able to reduce their working hours in the future without too much loss of salary – for up to two years by a maximum of 50 percent. answers questions about the new law.

How has home care been regulated so far?

Employees can already take a break from work for up to half a year to care for relatives at home – but they will not receive any money during this time. In acute cases, relatives are entitled to ten days of unpaid leave to organize the needs-based care of close relatives. However, many working people do without these offers because, according to Family Minister Schröder, they fear considerable disadvantages. With her initiative, the family minister wants to motivate more people to get involved in the care of relatives and to improve the compatibility of work and care.

What does the draft law by Family Minister Schröder look like in concrete terms?

The law stipulates that employees who care for their relatives can in future reduce their working hours by a maximum of 50 percent for up to two years and receive 75 percent of their salary for this. In return, the employees should work full-time again after the care leave and initially receive 75 percent of their salary – until the balance is balanced again. However, the new draft does not provide for a legal right as in the current law, only individual agreements are possible.

Bundestag passes family care leave

A. Fünffinger, ARD Berlin, 20.10.2011 12:24 p.m

Who bears the costs?

The salary subsidy of 25 percent, which will later be compensated, is to be financed by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau. Therefore, according to Family Minister Schröder, there are no interest costs for companies. There is also no risk that you will not get the money back in the end.

How is the economy reacting?

In a Forsa survey of around 200 companies, quoted by the daily newspaper “Welt”, every second company expressed concerns about the law. The companies therefore fear higher personnel costs in particular. Many companies complained that they had to have more staff to compensate for the downtime. On the other hand, it is feared that many employees will not return to work after the end of the care phase because the relatives also have to be cared for. The concern is that employers will be left with the advance payments made – 75 percent salary for 50 percent working time.

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