Coronavirus: Drese hopes that the child sickness benefit scheme will be well received


Social Affairs Minister Stefanie Drese (SPD) hopes that the introduction of the children’s sickness benefit will get a good response from parents in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. “This is an attractive offer that can take away parents’ worries,” said Drese.

Currently, around 57 percent of the approximately 114,000 children in the northeast who regularly go to daycare are cared for at home.  The  minister emphasized that the fewer children that are cared for together in a group, the lower the risk of virus transmission and thus also for people outside the facility. © The  state government has therefore made an urgent recommendation not to send the children to an institution.

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Double sick days per parent


 The  Bundestag decided on Thursday to double the number of sick days per parent from 10 to 20 in the Corona crisis. Single parents receive 40 days instead of the usual 20. ©

 The  Federal Council will hold a special session on Monday to finally discuss the change in the law. ©

 The  regulation is to apply retroactively to January 5th.

As Drese further said, the entitlement also exists if the child is not sick. However, the prerequisites for receipt are that the affected parent and the child have statutory health insurance. ©

 The  child should not have reached the age of twelve or be dependent on help because of a disability. “No other person living in the household is allowed to supervise the child,” stressed the minister.

Read more: More clarity when planning additional childhood illness days

It is also not necessary to have a doctor’s sick leave. If necessary, a certificate from a daycare center or school is sufficient for the employer and health insurance company.

+++ questions and answers +++

That means increasing the number of childhood sick days in practice.

What are childhood sick days?

With children under the age of twelve in their own household, working parents or single parents have the right to be granted leave to care for their sick child. In this case, employees who have statutory health insurance and are entitled to sickness benefit receive a so-called child sickness benefit from their health insurance as a substitute for wages. This is what it says in Section 45 of the Social Security Code, Book V. Often one speaks of “child sick days” or childhood sick days.

What’s new now


 The  change in the law stipulates that working parents can take childhood illness days in 2021 even if their child is not sick. Rather, this is now possible if the care facility or school closes to contain the coronavirus, if school holidays are extended, if the compulsory presence is suspended or if it is only recommended to look after the children at home.

Parents have to prove this to the health insurance company. ©

 The  health insurance company can request a certificate from the respective institution or school to be presented. Usually, parents have to present a medical certificate when they report child illness. This is no longer necessary because the child is not sick.

What does “increase” the number of childhood illness days mean?

Parents are usually entitled to child sickness benefit for 10 days a year. ©

 The  entitlement of 10 days exists per parent and child. It is now being topped up so that each legally insured parent can apply for a total of 20 instead of 10 days of child sickness benefit per child in 2021, a maximum of 45 days in total for several children. For single parents, the entitlement increases by 20 to 40 days per child, with a maximum of 90 days for several children.

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Who is entitled?


 The  increase in the number of children’s sick days applies to legally insured, working parents who are themselves entitled to sick pay and whose child is under 12 years old. ©

 The  child himself must also be legally insured.

For children who have a disability, even beyond the age of 12. Another requirement is that there is no other person in the household who can look after the child. Parents who work from home should also be eligible.

Those who have private health insurance, on the other hand, have to assert the right to compensation payments under Section 56 of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG).

Can the entire claim be used for the school or daycare closings?

Yes. According to the federal government, working parents can also use their entire entitlement for childcare due to closed daycare centers and schools – provided that a corresponding certificate is available from the care facility.

What does the certificate look like?


 The  health insurance companies are still working on the details. However, there should be a corresponding sample form through which parents can prove the lack of childcare options, according to the Barmer and DAK Krankenkasse homepage.

Family Minister Giffey also announced on Thursday in Berlin that a simple sample certificate would be drawn up that will be made available to daycare centers and schools so that parents can apply for sick days with their health insurance company without red tape.

Anyone who applies for children’s sickness benefit because their child is sick still has to submit a medical certificate confirming the need for care.

Do employees have to give their employer advance notice of the childhood illness days?

Basically not. ©

 The  entitlement to child sickness benefit does not depend on the consent of the employer, and the underlying statutory regulations do not provide for a notice period.

This is explained by Björn Otto, specialist lawyer for labor law at the law firm CMS Germany. However, it is the employee’s duty of loyalty to inform the employer immediately if he has to stay away from work due to a pandemic. “What immediately means always depends on the individual case – for example, how quickly or since when an employee knew that he would not be able to cope with the need for care elsewhere,” says the labor law expert.

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Can employers have a say in when the childhood illness days are used?

No. Here, too, labor law expert Otto assumes that the employer has no right of codecision. ©

 The  employer cannot therefore demand that employees only take, for example, half a day of “child disease”. ©

 The  entitlement depends solely on whether employees meet the requirements set out in the law. However, it is customary and advisable to discuss these issues with the employer.

What if a large part of the team wants to take childhood illness days at the same time?

This question is not regulated by law. In contrast to, for example, the Part-Time Fixed Term Act, employers cannot invoke urgent operational reasons and reject individual reports of childhood illnesses. “©

 The  employer simply has to accept that,” says Otto.


 The  corresponding legal regulation in the Social Security Code is a mandatory right. Employers can, however, suggest that employees coordinate with one another in order to maintain normal operations as well as possible. This will probably also be done in practice.

Can employers demand that employees take emergency care in daycare or school if necessary?


 The  current legal regulation on child sickness benefits in the Social Security Code provides that a claim exists if parents have to stay away from work because they have to look after a sick child and there is no other possibility of care.

If, in theory, there are other emergency care options in day-care centers or schools, arguments would argue that employees also have to accept them. But that’s not certain, says Otto.

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According to the wording of the planned new regulation, if there is no possibility of childcare at home, the suspension of attendance at school should be sufficient for a leave of absence and child sickness benefits, according to Otto.

What does it mean that the law should apply “retrospectively” from January 5th?

It can be assumed here that employees who were unable to work from January 5, 2021 because of childcare can retrospectively claim children’s sickness benefit from the health insurance company. “Employees must prove this in a suitable manner, for example by means of a certificate from the care facility,” says Otto.

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Coronavirus Drese hopes child sickness benefit scheme received


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