Applying for Parental Leave: 4 Tips for Talking to Your Boss

Parents are entitled to up to three years of parental leave for each child. (Icon picture)
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If you want to take parental leave after the birth of your child, you must tell your manager in time.

Karina Hauer of the Bremen Chamber of Commerce advises you to make as concrete suggestions as possible for re-entry, so that the employer does not worry that you will not return.

“In such situations, we advise you not to stick too tightly to your own ideas, but it is better to examine the alternatives yourself,” the expert says.

If a baby is coming, parents have to suddenly sort out hundreds of things at the same time. This also includes: Contracting agreements with the employer. To make sure everything goes smoothly during your planned parental leave, you should discuss upcoming changes with your superiors at an early stage.

As parents, you can take three years of parental leave for each child, which ends at the latest on the child’s eighth birthday. You can separate who takes the amount of parental leave from the parents. The registration period for parental leave during the first three years of a child’s life is seven weeks before the start of parental leave. For parental leave that you want to take between the child’s third birthday and the age of eight, the deadline is 13 weeks before you begin. But how do you communicate to your superiors that you won’t be working for a while?

Karina Hauer knows what’s important: openness, commitment, and concrete planning – which is about the length of parental leave. Her advice: If you want to return part-time, you should apply for two or three years of parental leave. This creates more options for returns when it comes to working time models, according to the head of legal advice at the Bremen Chamber of Labor.

mutual understanding of each other

She remembers the times when expectant fathers were humbly seen as petitioners. That has changed: According to Karina Hauer’s experience, there are fewer conflicts than before when parental leave is introduced.

However, not all parents enter into a conversation with the principal without concern. For example, it is important to find the right time. As the Federal Department of Family Affairs advises in a handbook on the subject, employees should wait for the time when they are ready to report impending maternity or paternity — which allows for careful planning and implementation of necessary operations prior to parental leave.

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Anticipate concerns and provide solutions

In general, employees do well if they try to put themselves in the employer’s perspective and anticipate potential concerns beforehand, according to the guide.

For example, prospective parents should indicate that they are looking forward to returning to work and have specific ideas about it. This makes it clear to the employer that they do not have to worry about the specialist returning. Listing the tasks and responsibilities in full will help the team decide who is best to fill it while you are away.

Check alternate plans

The issue of re-entry also needs clarification. “Things can get awkward when it comes to part-time hours when you go back to work,” Karina Hauer says. For example, if all the specialists in a doctor’s office want to work only from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., it is difficult to organize this practice.

“In such situations, we advise not to stick strictly to your own ideas, but ideally to examine the alternatives yourself and talk to your superiors about your own ideas.” Perhaps one long working day a week could be offered, says Hauer. If both sides show understanding to each other, you can move forward together.

In order to be able to make as concrete suggestions as possible during the conversation, it’s a good idea to explain with your partner in advance how childcare is divided between them and how work hours are coordinated, advises Hauer.

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I know your needs

A prerequisite for good agreements is knowing your own needs. Career consultant Ragnhild Strauss writes on her blog that anyone concerned about the possibility of juggling a child and a job can act on their own expectations.

the question is no if You can still develop it in the future, but How do. The counselor emphasizes that even in the new role and job, parents are a valuable resource in working life, particularly through newly acquired knowledge and skills.

It is important to plan enough flexibility with the employer so that return plans can also be adjusted later. Your own ideas about a career or career may change again once the child makes up for everyday life.

No matter what plans you ultimately decide on: If possible, you should try to stay in touch with the company during parental leave, Karina Hauer advises: “Visit summer festivals, take part in a Christmas party, and maybe meet colleagues at lunchtime and they Generally an interested signal.”

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