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Homeschooling and home office – parents should manage this balancing act in the pandemic. NRW is now expanding the regulation for children’s sick days in order to relieve more parents. The state goes further than the federal government.
I.n North Rhine-Westphalia, freelancers and self-employed people with childhood sickness days are now relieved of the burden of caring for the corona pandemic. Family Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) announced on Thursday, January 21, in the state parliament’s family committee, that the cabinet has decided on an aid program for privately and voluntarily legally insured parents with daycare and school children under the age of twelve.
It is true that the federal government doubled the children’s sick days for legally insured parents who look after their children at home during the pandemic. With privately or voluntarily insured, self-employed or freelancers, however, “a gap has been left,” said Stamp. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia will now close this with its own aid program.
Parents who are legally insured and whose children have private health insurance would also be compensated. “Corona does not differentiate in which way families are insured,” said Stamp.
According to Stamp, ten sick days per child are set for all these parent groups in NRW and 20 days for single parents. The daily rate for compensation is 92 euros. Applications could be submitted to the district governments from February. The applications are retroactive to January 5th.
Parents who cannot go to work at daycare centers and schools due to the corona restrictions are allowed to use the so-called children’s illness days for the time at home this year in order to prevent too great a loss of income.
This only applies to those with statutory health insurance. The Bundestag and Bundesrat had decided to double the number of sick days per parent from ten to 20. Single parents receive 40 days instead of the usual 20. Stamp had already called for readjustments for privately insured persons in the Federal Council.
The statutory health insurance usually pays children’s sickness benefit if parents cannot go to work because of the care of a sick child under the age of twelve. It amounts to 90 percent of net earnings.
The additional children’s sick days also apply if the facility is not closed. That is the case in NRW. Unlike the schools, the daycare centers in North Rhine-Westphalia remain open in the current lockdown, but offer a lower level of care. However, Stamp again appealed to the parents not to bring the children to daycare centers or childcare providers if possible.
He was publicly criticized for exerting moral pressure on parents, he said. But he also stands by that. The situation can only be mastered “if we are also ready to live responsibility and solidarity”. He explained that in a letter to his parents. The minister also pointed out that the parents’ contributions for care in daycare centers and open all-day schools (OGS) would also be reimbursed in January.
According to Stamps, around 37.5 percent of daycare children in NRW were still being cared for in facilities as of January 19. In the previous week it was 35 percent. There are daycare centers with high occupancy rates, for example in the vicinity of hospitals, but also facilities where there are hardly any children.
In December, according to Stamp, an average of 4.1 percent of daycare centers were completely or partially closed due to the Corona. In November it was 5.4 percent. There are still no meaningful figures for January.