Mastering care shortages
Your children have a place at daycare or after-school care? Great, then you can relax and get on with your daily work routine. Can you? If it weren’t for vacations, conception days, strikes or various waves of illness… What do you do during closing times? How can you best prepare for childcare shortages? We give you some tips:
Preparation is the key:
At the beginning of the school or calendar year, there is a schedule that includes all planned closing days. Once the schedule is available, we recommend transferring the closing days to your calendar and planning the year in detail in advance:
- It may make sense to coordinate family vacation with closing times. This may result in higher costs for the vacation but the costs for external childcare, if applicable, are eliminated.
- Take advantage of vacation programs: Many communities, clubs and schools offer vacation programs. This can be a tennis camp, vacations on the horse farm, an english camp or an art workshop? Mostly the programs are for children from about 6 years and there are now offers in the easter, summer and winter vacations. We at VivaFamilienService will be happy to help you find a suitable offer.
- Do you already have a babysitter? If so, please coordinate the closing and bridge days in advance. Especially single days can be ideally taken over by babysitters. If you do not have a babysitter yet, we recommend that you look for someone to support your family – we will be happy to assist you in your search.
- The other parents in the situation are no different than you: the compatibility of job and family affects almost everyone! Share openly how other families plan to bridge the closing times. This can lead to opportunities: Perhaps one parent in turn stays home and cares for the children together. That way, a week of closure can be covered with just a few vacation days per person. Or maybe there is one parent who is home anyway? Then ask for a playdate. You can certainly return the favor at another time.
- The grandparents: Are the grandparents a close contact for your child and involved in the care? If so, you are welcome to involve them in the vacation care as well. Do the grandparents live nearby and can make trips together? Or do you live further away and the child can take a “vacation” with the grandparents? Of course, it’s important that everyone involved feels comfortable with this.
Short-term closure: Plan B!
Use the time in which the care has developed regularly and develop a plan B and best of all a plan C for the unpredictable closing days: Strikes or waves of illness unfortunately occur frequently:
- Does your babysitter has time at short notice?
- Is it possible to involve grandparents in the care?
- Can you alternate with your partner and each take over childcare for a few hours?
- Do you and/or your partner have the possibility to work from home? Have you prepared everything and are you ready to go? Here are some helpful tips (in German) on how to reconcile children and home office. Ideally, you can take turns with your partner and each take over childcare for a few hours.
- Coordinate with other families and talk in advance about the possibility of tandem care: Maybe families who are friends take the child for a few hours and then they swap? In this way, emergency care can be set up together.
- And sometimes the simplest solution is the best: employees can take a day off and do something nice with their child.
- In the case of sick children, parents with statutory health insurance are entitled to children’s sick days and children’s sick pay if the child with statutory health insurance is sick.
Does the employer have to release parents from work? An employee is entitled to continued payment of remuneration by his or her employer under Section 616 of the German Civil Code if he or she is “prevented from performing his or her duties for a relatively insignificant period of time due to a personal reason for which he or she is not responsible”, i.e. cannot work. Such a personal reason is, for example, an illness, whether of the parent or the child. However, a strike or a closed daycare center does not count. Legally, the employer does not have to give parents time off. In reality, however, it is an important reason to be absent from work that day. The fairest solutions are working in a home office, taking a vacation or an unpaid leave of absence.
Can I take my child to work with me in an emergency? There is no legal regulation on this, it is up to the employer to decide. This only works if there are no dangers, the child is busy at the time and does not disturb anyone. As a rule, the workplace is not an ideal environment for a child.
Duty to work versus duty to supervise: If you cannot find substitute care for your child despite all your efforts, you as parents are forced to stay at home. Otherwise, you would be in breach of your duty of supervision. And that takes precedence over your duty to work.
Information on children’s sick days & children’s sick pay:
If your own child is ill, you are entitled to children’s sick days and children’s sick pay. This applies to parents with statutory health insurance and children with statutory health insurance.
There are 30 sick days per child and 60 for single parents. If there are several children, each parent is entitled to no more than 65 working days, and no more than 130 for single parents.
Children’s sick pay is usually 90 percent of the net pay lost and can be applied for from the health insurance fund. It is capped at 116.37 euros per day, and a maximum of 10 children’s sick days are credited per parent and child. More information is available from the Federal Ministry of Health (in German).