For working parents, a sick child is a stressful situation. On the one hand, the offspring requires special attention, on the other hand, there are the obligations as an employee. The legislator has clearly defined the rights of legal guardians in the event of a child's illness.
Entitlement to leave of absence: the current legal situation
In principle, every employee is entitled to time off – without deduction of vacation days. The number of working days covered by this entitlement depends on the employee's insurance status and the age of the child.
If the employee and child are covered by statutory health insurance, each parent is entitled to ten sick days per child in accordance with Section 45 para.2 SGB V allows up to ten sick days per child, in case of necessary care of several children the period increases up to 25 working days. Single parents are entitled to twice as many days in each case. This entitlement to time off cannot be reduced by the employer through corresponding clauses in the employment contract or collective agreement.
If employees or children have a different insurance status, for example if both are privately insured, according to current case law each parent is entitled to a leave of absence of up to five working days per child and year pursuant to § 616 BGB (cf. BAG ruling of 19.04.1978 Az.: AZR 834/76). However, this entitlement may be reduced by the employer by labor or collective agreement.
Attention: For children who have reached the age of twelve, the entitlement to time off expires. If parents still wish to take care of their child, they must take leave of absence. The only exception is if it is not appropriate or feasible to provide other care for the child for a temporary period, for example in the case of disabled children or children in need of care.
Child ill: Employer not obliged to continue paying wages
There is no legal entitlement to continued payment of wages in the event of a child's illness in Germany. Nevertheless, this can be derived from § 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB). It states:
"The person obliged to provide services shall not be deprived of the right to remuneration by the fact that he is prevented from providing services for a relatively insignificant period of time by a reason inherent in his person through no fault of his own."
Accordingly, employees retain their entitlement to wage payment if they are unable to work for an insignificant period through no fault of their own. According to current case law, a period of up to five days is considered "insignificant". The employer must pay the same amount for this time as the employee would be entitled to if he or she had worked regularly.
However, the entitlement resulting from Section 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB) may be reduced or excluded by employment or collective bargaining agreement. Those affected should seek legal advice to clarify whether such clauses are effective. Reliable private legal protection insurance helps find a competent lawyer.
No entitlement to continued payment of wages – what now?
If parents are not entitled to continued payment of wages, they can claim sick pay in accordance with the following rules. § 45 SGB V apply for child sickness benefit. For this, parents and children must be insured in a statutory health insurance fund. Entitlement to child sick pay covers the entire leave period. Parents receive 70 percent of their gross salary during the time off, but no more than 90 percent of their net salary.
In order for an employee to be eligible for child sick leave, the following conditions must be met:
– A doctor must certify the child's illness and state that care by a legal guardian is necessary – No other person living in the household can take over the child's care – The child has reached the age of 12. The child has not yet reached the age of 18.
Note: the entitlement to children's sick pay is always only for one parent, but never for both guardians.
Special arrangements for civil servants and the self-employed
Federal civil servants are entitled to a leave of absence of four days per year and child, but always receive their full pay. The length of the period varies depending on the federal state. If the paid sick days are used up, civil servants can take sick leave according to. § 22 SUrlV apply for unpaid special leave in individual cases.
The same regulations apply to self-employed persons as to privately insured employees, who are not entitled to continued payment of wages in the event of the child's illness. But: If you are self-employed and have statutory health insurance, you will only receive benefits from the age of 43. Sickness day of the child Children's sick pay.
Are employees obliged to work at home?
No. Parents who cannot come to work due to their child's illness may not be required to work in a home office. However, in the interest of a good working atmosphere, it can be advantageous to offer the employer temporary home work – for example, for the time when the child is sleeping or being cared for by the partner.
Child sick: What employees should do
Inform the employer
If the child suddenly falls ill, parents should inform their employer immediately so that the employer can redistribute the work to colleagues.
If the illness persists on the second or third day, employees should visit a doctor with their child. This clarifies the expected duration of illness. Ies the necessary certificates for the employer if required.