European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure DE-2020-12/1691 Updated – measures in Germany

Income compensation in case of school or nursery closures (BMFSFJ)

Entschädigung bei Schul- und Kitaschließungen (BMFSFJ)

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 07 April 2023
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Support for parents and carers (financial or in kind)
Author Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound
Measure added 10 January 2021 (updated 08 November 2023)

Background information

The German disease control legislation of March 2020 ( Infektionsschutzgesetz ) includes the right to receive income compensation payments for working parents in case of school or nursery closures. Parents who lose (part of) their income because they have to care for their children at home are entitled to compensation payments as long as the child is under the age of twelve or has special needs, and parents have no reasonable alternatives to childcare at home.

The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) introduced a change to German disease control legislation in December 2020. Compensation payment now also covers school or nursery holiday periods, holiday extensions and periods without mandatory attendance.

Content of measure

Parents receive compensation payment for up to 67% of income lost, or a maximum of €2,016 for a maximum of ten weeks per working parent, or a maximum to twenty weeks for single parents. Funds are distributed via employers, who have to apply on behalf of their employees.

The change reflects changing needs under new lock-down decrees introduced in December 2020. The new decrees extended schools' Christmas holiday period and made school attendance voluntary during the last week of school in December. The legislative change came into force on 16 December 2020. Parents can apply for compensation payment until the end of March 2021.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

07 April 2023

The measure ended on 7 April 2023

16 September 2022

The measure has been prolonged until 7 April 2023.

18 March 2022

The measure has been prolonged until 23 September 2022.

24 November 2021

The newly incoming German government decided in November 2021 to change the basis for political decision making during the pandemic with a law on the lifting of the epidemic situation (BMG 2021). In this law, the lawmakers also adopted an extension of pandemic-related social policy measures, including income compensation in case of school and nursery closures. It was prolonged until 19 March 2022.

30 March 2021

The German Parliament recognized a continued nation-wide epidemic emergency and voted for an extension of Germany's Pandemic Control Legislation (IfSchG) on 30 March 2021. The extension also meant an automatic extension of pandemic-related social policy measures, including income compensation in case of school or nursery closures. As long as the Bundestag recognizes a continued nation-wide epidemic emergency, this and other policy measures remain in place. The policy measure has ceased to be of temporary nature. The regular evaluation of measures (every three months) is not necessary any more. The measure is of an open-end nature now.

Use of measure

Germany's federal government expected around 1.36 million employees to make use of the measure (Handwerksblatt 2020).

The initial measure only covered up to six weeks of lost income. In April 2020, the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB 2020) demanded an increase of the compensation payment to cover up to 80 per cent of income lost, and an extension of payments to cover up to ten weeks. The policy change of December 2020 partly reflects these DGB demands.

A Government-commissioned study (BMAS 2021), based on a survey among sixty experts of social and labour market policy, found that experts attributed an efficient implementation but a moderate socio-economic effectiveness to this policy measure. The Government decision to provide compensation for lost income in case of school and nursery closures has efficiently benefited working parents. Working hour reductions, still, mean a macroeconomic loss in collective wealth.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Parents in employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


Social partners are usually consulted by the Federal Government when drafting national laws or other major regulations concerning the labour market. No formal tripartite social dialogue structure exists to design pandemic control measures. Germany's pandemic response is based on government by decrees, without parliamentary participation. Public statements by both social partners have informally influenced the policy design of this BMFSFJ measure.

Views and reactions

In April 2020, trade unions demanded various changes to the measure (DGB 2020), not all of which were reflected in the policy changes of December 2020. Among other things, DGB suggested to include employment protection mechanisms in the regulation, to protect employees from dismissal after the end of compensatory payments. The trade union also called for the legislator to clarify that employees were entitled to the payment independently of remaining annual leave days.



Eurofound (2021), Income compensation in case of school or nursery closures (BMFSFJ), measure DE-2020-12/1691 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.