The Federal Constitutional Court rules: Should parents pay less social security contributions?


FAQ

Status: 25/05/2022 03:44

Parents make an important contribution to the social security system through their children. Should they therefore be relieved of their duties? Today, the dispute is to be decided by the Supreme Court – an overview.

By Klaus Hempel, ARD’s Legal Department

Who filed a complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court?

Three parents from Baden-Württemberg complained. They come from Freiburg and Waldshut-Tiengen. They are supported by the Catholic Family Association and the German Family Association. The legal battle has dragged on for many years. The first lawsuit was filed in 2006 in the Freiburg Social Court.

What are the parents trying to achieve with their lawsuits?

They want to ensure that they pay fewer social security contributions than childless people – that is, fewer contributions for statutory pensions, nursing and health insurance. Her main argument: parents had to pay almost twice. On the one hand, they would be burdened by social contributions. On the other hand, they would make an important contribution through their children and thus maintain the social security system.

Today’s children would later have to pay for the current contributors’ pensions, care and health expenses – even for those who did not want children. The latter would benefit their children in the future. Therefore, according to the applicants’ arguments, all parents make a double contribution. They think it’s unfair. The maintenance costs for the children and their upbringing must therefore be compensated in the form of lower social contributions.

What have the courts decided so far?

A family from Freiburg complained through all the social courts without success. In 2015, the Federal Social Court ruled that parents can not claim additional exemption from social security contributions. The legislature has a broad political leeway to formulate social security legislation.

In their judgment, the judges pointed out that the parents’ child-rearing efforts are already taken into account in many respects: for example, by counting the upbringing periods in the pension insurance or in the non-contributory family insurance in health insurance.

What are the chances of success for the lawsuits?

The Federal Constitutional Court now has the final say. It is difficult to assess what decision the judges of the first Senate will make. Karlsruhe had already decided in 2001 that parents should be relieved of the burden of long-term care insurance, ie having to pay less than childless.

As a result, the legislature increased child support contributions by 0.25 percentage points. At the beginning of 2022, this surcharge was again increased to the current 0.35 percentage points. It relieves the families somewhat. However, no distinction is made as to whether someone has one or more children. The Federal Constitutional Court must now rule on whether this is constitutional, or whether parents with more children should also have more relief. The Freiburg Social Court has referred this question to the Constitutional Court.

File numbers: 1 BvL 3/18, 1 BvR 717/16, 1 BvR 2257/16, 1 BvR 2824/17

Preliminary report – BVerfG: More relief for parents in social insurance

Klaus Hempel, SWR, 25.5.2022 05:55

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