Berlin father sues state over failing to enshrine new paternity leave law

Berlin father sues state over failing to enshrine new paternity leave law

A man in Berlin has taken the German state to court after he was forced to use holiday days as leave following the birth of his child since a nationwide paternity leave law is yet to be enshrined.

Man sues German state over delayed paternity leave law

A 38-year-old father has brought the German government to court for damages after he had to use annual leave days to spend time with his newborn because the country’s new paternity leave legislation has not been enshrined into law.

It has been two years since the German government promised that it would introduce a paid two-week paternity leave period (Vaterschaftsurlaub) for new fathers, or the partner of the parent who gives birth. Currently, the parent who gives birth in Germany is entitled to six weeks of paid maternity leave before they give birth and six weeks afterwards, while partners are not entitled to a single day unless their employer voluntarily grants it.

The current situation also means Germany is in breach of EU law since the bloc introduced legislation in July 2022, which ruled that member states must offer two weeks of paid paternity leave. Meanwhile, fathers in other EU states have already been able to take advantage of the new law.

The idea is that fathers take Vaterschaftsurlaub before also having the opportunity to take Germany’s longer parental leave (Elternzeit), during which parents in Germany can claim parental allowance (Elterngeld).

Man in Hesse was the first to sue over delayed Vaterschaftsurlaub

The Berlin father in question argues that without Vaterschaftsurlaub his family is vulnerable to financial losses since the new leave comes with special compensation payments for lost wages

Whether they are employed full-time, part-time or still in their trial period (Probezeit), under the new law fathers will be entitled to wage compensation based on their average salary in the three months leading up to the birth of their child.

The case in the capital follows a similar one in March, in which a man in Hesse was the first in Germany to take the state to court over failure to enshrine Vaterschaftsurlaub.

Now, pressure is piling on German politicians to implement the law that it promised to enshrine at the start of 2024.

Thumb image credit: O_Lypa /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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