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Parental Part-Time Work

Here you can find the most important labour law regulations on parental part-time work. For questions about childcare allowance, please contact the Federal Ministry within the Federal Chancellery of Women, Integration, Families and Youth.


The basic condition for parental part-time work is that parents live in a joint household with the child, or that the parent taking advantage of part-time work for parents has custody of the child. In addition, the other parent may not be in parental leave at the same time.

This entitlement may only be used once per child and parent.

Parents whose children were born from 1 January 2016 onwards have to reduce their weekly working hours by at least 20 percent. The remaining working time may not be less than twelve hours (so there is a range of possible working hours). If part-time work with hours outside the range is nevertheless agreed, it is subject to the same conditions as parental part-time work within the range.

The regulations described here also apply if the working hours are not reduced and only the timing is changed (from an early to a late shift, for example).

Conditions for Entitlement to Part-Time Work

After the birth of a child, employees are entitled to part-time work under certain conditions. 

If the mother or father is employed in a company with more than 20 employees and the employment relationship has existed uninterruptedly for at least three years, the conditions for entitlement to parental part-time work are fulfilled.

This entitlement continues until the child’s seventh birthday or school enrolment at a later date. The beginning, extent and timing of the working hours are arranged with the employer.

Agreed Part-Time Work

If there is no entitlement, part-time work (including its beginning, duration, extent and location) can only be agreed until the fourth birthday of the child.

The Start of Part-Time Employment

Parental part-time work may only start after the end of the maternity protection period. The minimum duration of parental part-time work is two months. If the part-time work is to begin immediately after the end of protection, written notification of this by the mother has to be given during protection, while notification from the father has to be made in writing no later than eight weeks after the birth of the child. The same deadlines for notification apply if the end date of the maternity protection period and the starting date of the intended part-time work are less than three months apart. If part-time work is to begin later, written notification has to be given at the latest three months before the desired starting date.

Part-Time Work for Both Parents

It is permissible for both parents to take advantage parental part-time work simultaneously.

Protection Against Redundancy and Dismissal During Parental Part-Time Work

Special protection against redundancy and dismissal is provided until up to a maximum period of four weeks after the child’s fourth birthday. After this, there is protection against the employee being made redundant due to having taken leave.

If an additional job is taken on during part-time work for parents without the agreement of the original employer, the latter can give notice to the employee within eight weeks of receiving information about this.

Ending Parental Part-Time Employment

A change to the nature of part-time work or its end can only be demanded once each by the employee and the employer. 

This has to be announced three months at the latest before the desired change.

If a parental part-time work arrangement lasting less than three months is to be changed by the employee or the employer, this change has to be announced two months in advance at the latest. The employee then has a right to return to their original normal working hours.

The Procedure When There Is No Agreement

The employer has to take legal action at the Labour and Social Court, if a parent is entitled to part-time work, and no agreement is reached after internal negotiations within the company, and there is no court settlement either. Otherwise the employee has a right to start working part-time.

After considering the interests of both parties, the court has to make a final decision on the conditions of the part-time work.

Employees without entitlement have to take legal action at the aforementioned court, if there is no agreement on part-time work.

Last update: 1 September 2022