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In Germany there is an entitlement to maternity leave. At the moment, however, this only applies to parents who are in permanent employment. A petition submitted to the Bundestag aims to change that.

The self-employed (like employees) can apply for the so-called parental allowance if they work less or not at all due to childcare. So far, the type of health insurance has been decisive for the self-employed for support with the so-called maternity leave allowance.

A petition that expires today is therefore calling for a reform of the federal law to implement the corresponding EU directive. Among other things, this provides for a right to maternity benefits for a total of 14 weeks for all mothers and pregnant women. In addition, a reform of the parental allowance is called for, in which the situation of self-employed parents is to be assessed separately.

As the petition states, pregnancy “must not pose a threat to existence or lead to unequal opportunities in the labor market”.

Operational security is also considered in the petition: business assets should remain untouched in order to protect pregnant women from insolvency.

The maternity benefit is regarded as a financial support from the statutory health insurance companies. Therefore, privately insured persons are not entitled to it.

Privately insured persons can draw a maximum of the so-called daily sickness benefit. However, this is only possible if the contract with the health insurance company was concluded more than eight months ago.

In addition, privately insured persons can also apply for maternity benefit from the “Federal Office for Social Security”. This is a one-off payment of up to 210 euros.

Self-employed people who are voluntarily insured with a statutory health insurance company and are entitled to sick pay can draw their sick pay within the so-called maternity protection period. This maternity protection period usually covers the last six weeks before the child’s expected due date and the first eight weeks after the birth.

As the petition states, a self-employed person currently receives a maximum of 13.00 euros in support per day – in view of the running costs, however, such amounts are a “drop in the ocean”.

In their letter, the petitioners therefore call for fully paid, legally regulated maternity leave for the self-employed. This would also promote equal opportunities and social justice.

The petition has already been signed by more than 70,000 people. This means that a minimum limit has been reached so that the motion can be put forward for a vote in the Bundestag.