Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Germany - Maternity and paternity benefits

Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?

Maternity allowance is paid for six weeks before the birth and eight weeks after (12 weeks for premature and multiple births as well as in cases when within eight weeks of childbirth a doctor declares the child to be disabled and the woman applies for a longer term of protection). In the case of a premature birth, coverage is extended by the number of days earlier than the due date that the child was born.

Eligibility requirements

Pregnancy and childbirth.

What am I entitled to and where can I apply for the benefits?

If you are pregnant, ask your doctor for a maternity certificate (Mutterschaftspass). This contains information about all the medical examinations for pregnant women. Adult education centres (Volkshochschulen), health insurance companies and other institutions offer expectant mothers and fathers free courses to prepare them for the birth. They will give you plenty of tips on pregnancy, birth, life with a baby and your rights and obligations.

The maternity allowance amount is always determined by the salary of the last cleared calendar months before the beginning of the maternity period. It is a maximum of EUR 13 per day. The employer pays the difference between the maternity allowance amount and your previous salary.

During the period when women are protected by the maternity laws (including the day of the birth), maternity benefits stand at maximum EUR 13 per day if you are entitled to sick pay due to your inability to work, or if you are not receiving any wage or salary because of the laws on working during maternity.

Employees who are not a member of a state health insurance (e.g. those who are privately insured or women with family insurance under the state health insurance system) receive maternity benefits up to a maximum of EUR 210 (“one-time maternity benefit of the Federal Social Insurance Office”).

Self-employed women who have taken out a private sickness cash benefit insurance are entitled to the contractually agreed daily benefits during the maternity protection periods pursuant to § 3 Maternity Protection Act.

Pregnant women and new mothers also receive:

  • Care from a doctor and assistance from a midwife during the pregnancy and after the delivery (birth)
  • Assistance from a midwife during the delivery and, if necessary, from a doctor as well
  • Provision of medicines, bandages, treatments and equipment
  • Cover for the costs for an inpatient delivery in a hospital
  • Home care
  • Domestic help

Application forms

You can obtain the application forms for the maternity benefits of the legal health insurance (up to EUR 13 per calendar day) from your health insurance company.

The application forms for the one-time maternity benefits of the Federal Insurance Office is available from the Federal Social Insurance Office.

Your rights

You can obtain further information about your rights and entitlements from your health insurance company.

European Commission publications:


Further information

The health insurance companies inform their members about their rights and entitlements by telephone and over the Internet. If you do not agree with a decision taken by your health insurance company, you can seek advice from independent patient advice centres. (http://www.unabhaengige-patientenberatung.de/) or contact the responsible regulating authority of the respective health insurance.

You can find a list of the state health insurance policies and plenty of other relevant information at https://www.gkv-spitzenverband.de/english/english.jsp on the site of the Central Federal Association of the Health Insurance Funds.

If you still have social security cover in one or more countries besides Germany, ask about the effects on health insurance:

GKV Spitzenverband,
Abteilung Deutsche Verbindungsstelle
Krankenversicherung - Ausland (DVKA)
Pennefeldsweg 12 c
53177 Bonn
Tel.: +49 228 95300

The Federal Ministry of Health can be found at http://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/en/en.html; the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs at http://www.bmas.de/EN/Home/home.html

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