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In Berlin, working parents can balance their family lives and their professional lives. Easy access to child care, even for children under the age of three, is the norm in Berlin.

Child care and care for elderly or handicapped family members are a prerequisite for anyone wishing to successfully balance work and family. The state of Berlin has created excellent conditions for working parents by expanding day care options available and introducing all-day schools. What is good for working parents is good for employers.

The Berlin Day care Law (Berliner Kindertagesbetreuungsgesetz) guarantees day care for working parents with a demonstrated need for child care. Children under three years of age also have a right to day care if their parents work, study, are seeking employment or need day care due to other family or economic circumstances. All children from families in which German is not the primary language spoken in the home have the right to at least half-day care. The last three years at day care centers before schooling begins will be free of charge.

Berlin's employers have ramped up their efforts to help employees balance work and family in recent years. An increasing number of Berlin companies, institutions and universities recognize the value of family-friendly HR policies and are supplementing existing child care infrastructure by company day care offerings.

Work and care for the elderly

The number of employees balancing their work responsibilities with caring for an elderly or handicapped relative is growing. One way that Berlin companies show their support for these employees is by earning a "work-and-family" (berufundfamilie) certificate through an audit of their policies, or by joining the "Success Factor Family" (Erfolgsfaktor Familie) network of companies. The Land of Berlin is working with the Berlin Family Advisory Council (Berliner Familienbeirat) to sensitize employers to issues surrounding work and care of the elderly by developing innovative concepts for lending support to employees who care for family members. The goal of the initiative is to create a business culture that grants the necessary latitude to parents and employees who are caring for family members.

Among the groups receiving support from the federal state of Berlin is an organization known as KOBRA, a consulting body that provides information about the opportunities and legal framework involved in parental and caregiver leave. KOBRA supports companies in their efforts to develop custom-made solutions designed to reconcile the responsibilities of work and family: indeed, helping employees achieve the right work-life balance is key in attracting and keeping qualified personnel.