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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler
Dec. 11—Effective Jan. 1, 2015, German workers at companies with more than 25 employees will be legally entitled to 10 days' leave at 90 percent of wages to provide care for sick family members or close relatives. Under legislation approved Dec. 4 by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, employees will also be eligible during a two-year period to reduce their weekly working time to as little as 15 hours to provide “family care time” to attend a close relative at home.
The legislation also grants employees the right to six months' leave with interest-free loans to allow them to take care of a family member. During these six months, employees can work either part-time or not at all.
The draft bill had originally included employees working for companies with as few as 15 workers, but Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democratic Union insisted in Bundestag debate on the higher threshold.
The bill still requires the approval of Germany's Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, and the signature of Germany's Federal President Joachim Gauck.
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Full text of the bill is available at http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/18/031/1803124.pdf, the report of the Bundestag's Committee for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth at http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/18/034/1803449.pdf, both in German.
For more information on German HR law and regulation, see the Germany primer.
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