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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-2020-12/1694 Updated – measures in Germany

Instant support for employees with care duties

Akuthilfen für pflegende Angehörige (BMFSFJ)

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 20 March 2020 – 30 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 measure aims to reduce financial hardship for working carers. Social distancing rules aiming to bring down COVID-19 infection rates have made institutionalised care less attractive for people with care needs and made the sharing of care responsibilities between institutions and families more difficult. The need for care at home has increased. The Government has increased care support grants (Pflegeunterstützungsgeld) and flexibilised care periods for working carers.

Content of measure

The Government increased the amount of working days covered by the care support grant ( Pflegeunterstützungsgeld ), from ten to twenty days. Care periods can now be introduced with more flexibility, to respond to flexible care needs. The additional ten days of care support are conditional on the care need being related to the pandemic: for example, if employees have to care for a family member because professional care workers are not available. This can for example be related to quarantines with the family or the care service. The measure is relevant for a large number of employees: around 2.5 million workers in Germany care for family members at home (Augsburger Allgemeine, 2020).


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

30 April 2023

The measure expired on 30 April 2023.

20 October 2022

The measure has been extended until the end of April 2023.

25 March 2022

The measure has been prolonged until 30 June 2022.

30 November 2021

Because of the ongoing burdens due to the persistent pandemic situation, the newly incoming German government decided in November 2021 to extend all pandemic-related social policy measures, including the instant support for employees with care duties. All measures were prolonged until 31 March 2022.

24 November 2020

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 instant support for employees with care duties. It was prolonged until 31 March 2022.

Use of measure

According to figures from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) of September 2020, around 3.4 million people in Germany are in need of care, three quarters of whom are cared for at home. Currently, it is assumed that there are about 4.8 million family members providing care. Of the 4.8 million caregivers, about 2.5 million are employed and have to shoulder care and work at the same time. More than 70 percent of the main caregivers are women, often in so-called sandwich positions (childcare and care responsibilities).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Other groups of workers
Does not apply to 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 BMFSFJ measures.

Views and reactions

Public statements by social partners have informally influenced the design of BMFSFJ policy measure related to the government's pandemic response.



Eurofound (2021), Instant support for employees with care duties, measure DE-2020-12/1694 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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