The Federal Constitutional Court ensures that parents with several children are better off than childless and smaller families when it comes to statutory long-term care insurance. The contribution rates would have to be adjusted according to the specific number of children by the end of July 2023, the highest German court in Karlsruhe decided according to information on Wednesday (1 BvL 3/18 et al, decision of April 7th). On the other hand, it is okay that the statutory pension and health insurance does not differentiate between parents and those without children.

In the case of long-term care insurance in 2001, the court ruled that it was not compatible with the Basic Law for parents to pay the same high contribution rate as childless people – because they made a “generative contribution to the functionality of a pay-as-you-go social security system”. The contribution rates were then adjusted. Since the beginning of this year, that for parents has been 3.05 percent of gross income, and for childless people it has been 3.4 percent.

From the point of view of the judges, however, this does not go far enough: the more children a family has, the greater the effort and the associated costs. “This disadvantage occurs from the second child onwards,” the statement says. “The same contribution burden on parents, regardless of the number of children they have, is not constitutionally justified.” The legislature must remedy this disadvantage.

In the statutory pension insurance, the value of bringing up children is particularly rewarded by the recognition of so-called child-rearing periods, decided the First Senate, chaired by Court President Stephan Harbarth. With a view to statutory health insurance, the judges emphasized that the insured benefited “to a considerable extent” from the services in childhood and adolescence.

In several judgments, the Federal Social Court had already declared that in these two cases no distinctions were made between people with and without children. Several parents defended themselves against these decisions with constitutional complaints, supported by the Family Association of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Freiburg.