Schools and day-care centres to remain closed until the end of January - children's sick days to be extended

What did the Chancellor and the Prime Ministers decide on 5 January? The quick overview for parents and families

At their meeting on 5 January 2021, the Chancellor and the Minister Presidents of the Länder decided to extend the measures in force since mid-December until the end of January. Some measures, such as meetings with acquaintances from other households as well as the movement radius at high incidences, will be tightened.

Schools and day-care centres to remain closed until the end of January - children's sick days to be extended

Daycare and school closure persists

The most important decision for parents and children concerns the continuation of the measures previously in force. This means that daycare centres and schools will remain closed until 31 January or that compulsory attendance will be suspended until then. In detail, the federal states determine the regulations specifically and there may be slight deviations in individual cases, which may also affect the final classes (see here for the state-specific regulations).

As the winter holidays are then due in various federal states, children in these states do not go back to nursery or school until 8 February.

For parents, this means that in the vast majority of cases, they will have to care for their children at home - as they did during the lockdown in the spring.

Emergency care in daycare centres and schools

There is emergency care. The details of who is eligible for emergency care are determined by the states and are therefore not listed in the resolution. You can find the regulations of the individual federal states here.

It is obvious that this will mainly apply to parents who still have to work "normally" at the workplace and/or belong to the so-called care-relevant sector.

Expansion of the number of children's sick days

For parents who have to care for their children at home due to daycare and school closures, the number of so-called children's sick days will be increased by 10 in 2021, and by 20 days for single parents. I.e. each parent has a total of 20 child sick days for the year 2021, single parents have a total of 40 child sick days. In this case, the health insurance fund will cover part of the lost wages, since the employer does not have to pay wages for these days. However, the reimbursement amount does not correspond to the full net wage, but is lower.

Further possible help for parents

Unlike in the spring, the agreements contain a few formulations that are intended to make it somewhat easier for parents to reconcile family and career. However, it is debatable whether the proposed measures are sufficient.

On the one hand, employers are asked to allow home offices as far as possible and flexible. For all companies that have to close anyway, these proposals are not a problem. In many other cases this will not be possible. This is all the more true as no compensation payments have been named and it is unclear whether this can be absorbed within the framework of bridging aid. What you can do to deal with this situation aggressively is described here.

Furthermore, additional opportunities are to be created for parents to receive paid leave for looking after children during the period in question. The proposal for paid leave is certainly helpful for parents. However, it unfortunately remains unclear how the employer is to be compensated for this, if necessary, and how the associated costs are to be absorbed.

Only meetings with a maximum of one other person allowed

Unlike before, in future you may only meet with a maximum of one person who does not belong to your own household. This is a severe restriction compared to the previous regulation.

Unlike before, there are apparently no longer separate regulations for children under 14. They were not counted so far, this is no longer valid on 10.1. I.e. children can also only meet a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Are the children allowed to meet their friends?

In the future, children will only be allowed to meet one boyfriend or girlfriend.

Limited movement radius of 15 km around the place of residence

In regions with an incidence of at least than 200 new cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days, people are generally only allowed to move within a radius of 15 km from their place of residence. So-called valid reasons are excluded, e.g. visits to the doctor. Day tourism is explicitly not a valid reason.

The place of residence is decisive, not the exact address or street.

So what happens after January 31, 2021?

The agreed regulations will initially apply until 31 January 2021, after which the Federal Chancellor and the Minister Presidents of the federal states will decide on 25 January. If one follows the statements of individual participants in the press conference following the meeting, then there will probably still be restrictions after 31 January. What these are will depend on the incidence of infection at the end of January.

State sovereignty

It is also important that the federal states are responsible for the concrete implementation and can adapt the regulations within the framework of the agreements. Our website Corona-was-darf-ich provides information about the further regulations in the federal states.


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