Men continue to make themselves scarce at the changing table: Last year, three times as many women received parental allowance as men. When looking at the reference times, the situation is much clearer.

Women apply for an average of 11.7 months of parental allowance, men only 2.9 months.

In last year, 1.9 million women and men received parental allowance. That is two percent more than a year earlier, announced the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden on Thursday. A look at the figures, however, reveals a clear division of roles: a total of 1.41 million women received parental allowance, but only 456,000 men. At this low level, however, the number of male recipients rose by 5.3 percent, significantly more than the number of female recipients (plus 0.9).

It is particularly noticeable that mothers receive parental allowance much longer than fathers. Women apply for the conventional, so-called basic parental allowance, for an average of 11.7 months. Men, on the other hand, stay at home for an average of just 2.9 months. This is only slightly more than required by law: If a couple wants to receive parental allowance for a total of 14 months, one partner must stay at home for at least two months. A shorter duration is not possible, otherwise the couple will receive a maximum of twelve months of money.

None of this knowledge is new. Since the introduction of parental allowance in January 2007, it has become clear that women are much more likely to stay at home for their children. However, men are catching up year after year, albeit from a low level.

Some role stereotypes are still a reality

The reasons for this have also remained unchanged for more than ten years. Many men earn more money than their wives in the year before the birth, so the financial losses are higher if the man stays at home. The parental allowance is usually 66 percent of the average net income for the last 12 months before the child is born. However, the state pays at least 300 euros and a maximum of 1800 euros per month.

There is also the undisputed phenomenon that some men have little desire to stay at home for their child and some women do not trust their husbands to take care of their baby well enough. Many women also complain that they have to justify themselves to friends and colleagues if they quickly return to gainful employment.

The figures from the Federal Statistical Office also show that the so-called Elterngeld Plus is in greater demand. Parental Allowance Plus is usually lower, but is paid considerably longer; both parents together can receive it for up to 36 months. Last year, one in three eligible women opted for it, while only one in eight men opted for it.