The requirements which have to be met in order to be entitled to parental allowance are set forth in the Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz, BEEG). You may not work more than 32 hours per week while receiving parental allowance (Elterngeld).
The parental allowance is designed as an income substitution benefit: Working parents who take a career break or reduce their working hours to no more than 32 hours per week are eligible to receive a parental allowance of 65% of their average adjusted loss in net earnings. The minimum amount paid as a parental allowance is €300 and the maximum €1800. The minimum amount of €300 is paid irrespective of whether the recipient of the parental allowance was previously employed or not (for students, homemakers, those on a marginal income).
One parent can only apply for parental allowance for a total of 12 months. Parents of premature babies are entitled to some additional months of parental allowance. The allowance can be paid for a further two months if your partner would like to take parental leave as well (partner months). Partners can choose freely how to share the 14 months. This does not apply to months in which maternity allowance is paid and offset against the parental allowance.
Both partners may also have the monthly amounts paid out simultaneously or opt to only be paid half the monthly amount each month (ElterngeldPlus). In this case, the number of months in which the allowance can be paid is halved or doubled accordingly. While receiving parental allowance, parents must work no less than 15 and no more than 32 hours.
Single parents and parents whose partner is objectively unable to take parental leave are entitled to a parental allowance substituting the loss of income for the full 14 months.
Information for female employees: The period during which maternity allowance is paid after the birth of the child/the children is deducted from the period parental allowance can be claimed.
If both partners, the mother and the father, decide to each work 25 to 30 hours a week and share the time spent caring for the child/children, then they are entitled to an additional partnership bonus of four additional ElterngeldPlus months.