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From birth certificates and child benefit to family allowance - how do we apply for all these things and what documents do we need? Find out here.

Maternity leave

You cannot be asked to work in the final six weeks of pregnancy – unless, of course, you want to. After your child is born, maternity leave usually continues for a further eight weeks - this is even extended to twelve weeks in the case of premature of multiple births. It is against the law for a mother to work for a defined protection period after she has given birth.

An application for maternity leave must be handed in to the mother's employer. To make an application for maternity leave, you will need a letter from your doctor stating the estimated date when your baby is expected to be born.

Birth certificate

The law stipulates that you have one week to choose a name for your baby and to register your child's birth with the local registry office. You can usually register your baby directly at the hospital.

You will need confirmation of birth from your hospital or midwife, your identity card and marriage certificate or, for unmarried couples, the birth certificate of the mother and acknowledgment of paternity.

Parenting Allowance

The Parenting Allowance has replaced the Child-raising Allowance and all parents are entitled to it after the birth of a child. If one of the parents takes a break to look after the child, the allowance is paid for 12 months. Should the other parent also stay at home for 2 months, then it is extended to 14 months – as it generally is with all single parents.

In the case of working parents, the allowance is approx. 67 per cent of the net salary of the parent taking the break –to a maximum of 1,800 euro per month however. But please note: the Parenting Allowance is only paid retrospectively if applied for within the first three months. For this you require an original birth certificate of your child, a certificate from your medical insurance with regard to the payment of Maternity Benefit, a certificate from your employer with regard to a subsidy to the Maternity Benefit after the birth, a tax return statement or salary and wage slips.

To find your local Parenting Allowance Office and other information, go to the website of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs.

Child benefit

Child benefit is available to every parent regardless of their income and must be applied for at the employment office (family or child benefit agency) as soon as possible after your child is born. Child benefit is only paid retrospectively for six months. Child benefit will cease to be paid when your child reaches its 27th birthday at the very latest. It is paid independently of family allowance and parents receive a monthly payment of €184 for the first and second child, €190 for the third child and €215 for each subsequent child. More details are available from the relevant employment office and an application form is available online at

Health insurance

You should organise health insurance for your baby as soon as possible after it is born to ensure that your child is given the best possible protection. Parents can cover their baby under a family health insurance policy with either the mother's or the father's health insurance company. This process a mere formality and your child will be insured at no extra cost. Only private health insurance companies require that a separate contract be signed for your child.

Registry office

You can have your baby entered on your income tax card at the registry office. In addition to the income tax card in question, you will also need your identity card and your child's birth certificate. If you would also like to change your tax class, you should take along your partner's income tax card as well.

Parental leave

Mothers and fathers employed under contract are entitled to parental leave, regardless of whether they work full or part time, whether they are trainees, retrainees, work from home or are undertaking vocational training. Parental leave lasts for up to three years. Both parents are entitled to take parental leave at the same time. This allows you to spend some or all of this time together with your baby. For the mother, parental leave begins at the earliest straight after maternity leave, usually eight weeks after your child is born. Fathers can start their parental leave before the child is born, while the expectant mother is still on maternity leave. The parents are entitled to family allowance and child benefit while on parental leave. Most health insurance and social security policies continue to run free of charge.

Acknowledgement of paternity

The father can acknowledge paternity at any time before and after the baby is born. The only requirement is that the mother agrees. For the acknowledgement of paternity, the registry or youth welfare office will need the identity cards and birth certificates of both parents, as well as the birth certificate of your child.

Custody can also be divided once this step is complete. To do this, non-married couples must make a joint declaration with the youth welfare office or notary.

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4 Phases of Life