Childless people shouldn’t pay more to pensions and health insurance, court rules

Childless people shouldn’t pay more to pensions and health insurance, court rules

A group of families in Germany that has for many years been fighting to reduce social security contributions for parents has failed in its attempt to adjust contribution rates for health insurance and pension insurance. However, the Federal Constitutional Court did side with the plaintiffs on one issue: that the number of children should be taken into account when calculating long-term care contributions, to relieve larger families. 

Childless people in Germany pay more for long-term care, but not pensions or health insurance

Back in 2001, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that it was not compatible with the Basic Law for parents to pay the same contribution rates as childless people to long-term care insurance, on the basis that, by having children, they make a “generative contribution to the functionality of a pay-as-you-go social security system.”

The rates were changed soon after that decision, and recently adjusted once again so that, since the beginning of this year, parents have paid a contribution of 3,05 percent of their gross income, while childless people pay 3,4 percent. 

But the same decision was not made for other types of insurance in the social security system - namely statutory health insurance and pension insurance - and so for nearly 16 years a group of families, backed by the Family Association of Catholics in Freiburg, have been campaigning for contribution rates to be differentiated between parents and childless people across the board. 

Constitutional Court rules contributions to long-term care insurance should be staggered

This week their campaign experienced another setback, when the Federal Constitutional Court - the highest court in Germany - ruled that parents were already being sufficiently compensated for the raising of children when it comes to pensions and health insurance. 

For instance, the court pointed out, a parent who takes time out of work to raise a family receives up to three additional pension points for each child, while the children are insured free of charge with public health insurance. 

However, the court did side with the plaintiffs on one issue, ruling it unconstitutional that the number of children is not taken into account in contributions to long-term care insurance, placing an additional burden on families with higher numbers of children. 

The government will now be asked to stagger contribution rates according to the number of children, to relieve larger families more than smaller ones, starting from July 31 this year. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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