Child pension

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The child 's pension (also called childhood and youth pension , child bonus or parent's bonus ) describes a political project in Germany that aims at a maintenance pension for children and youths that is financed by all employees who are adult at the same time. If the children and adolescents later become gainfully employed, they use their own pension contributions to repay the childhood pension that was paid to them as an advance pension.

Variants of this concept provide for a per-child bonus. The concept of paying a reduced pension contribution while still working is also often included in the term.

A comparable proposal to relieve parents of paying into the care fund is called the child bonus . While the political side only speaks of an increase in pensions through children, social scientists assume that, conversely, a childlessness penalty must be introduced in order to balance the pension funds. This means that the pensions are first reduced for everyone and then increased again in a (conceptual) second step through the children's pension for parents.


The child's pension as part of the family burden equalization

The family compensation in Germany is primarily in the context of income tax in the form of child benefit and child tax credit as well as the parental allowance . In the area of ​​statutory pension insurance, child-rearing periods are taken into account .

The equalization of family burdens represents a redistribution from childless people to parents. Depending on the perspective and self-interest, it is viewed as a punishment (also unintentionally) or as a dismantling of childless privileges. As long as the family burden equalization does not socialize the total costs of the children, childless are by definition financially better off than parents.

On the one hand, a child's pension would balance the burden of the family by helping to finance childless pensions. However, the child's pension goes beyond the idea of ​​equalizing family burdens in that it achieves a distribution of lifetime income over the economically “unproductive” phases of childhood by transferring income from working age to childhood.

The child pension in the context of demographic development

Since the statutory pension insurance in Germany is financed according to the pay-as-you-go system , the change in the age structure , the so-called age pyramid, leads to financing problems. On average, fewer than two children are born per couple in almost all European countries (Germany currently: 1.4), these are still born later - and people are getting older and older. This worsens the ratio of contributors to pensioners: In the pay-as-you-go system, the contributions rise and / or the pensions fall.

One possible reason for this is the fact that the parents have to bear the cost of raising children. An increase in the equalization of family burdens through the introduction of a child's pension can therefore create an incentive to have children or a reduction in the incentive not to have children for cost reasons. Whether such incentives are desirable is debatable. The opposite position is that the state should not interfere in the family planning of its citizens.

To what extent the number of children depends on the costs of bringing up children or the amount of family burden compensation is controversial.

Time of family support

It is also controversial whether the children's pension is effective with regard to the incentive effect: an increase in direct payments to parents would be perceived more strongly by parents than an abstract increase in future pension payments.

According to critics of the child harvest concept, this would also better correspond to the needs of the parents. They demand active relief from parents already in their employment phase. To implement this, for example, a pension contribution splitting is required, in which the part of the family income is exempt from pension contributions that is not required for the working parents (the later pensioners), but for their children (the later pension contributors). It is controversial in this model whether the later pensions should be based on the actual (reduced) pension contributions of the families, as would correspond to the contribution-related nature of the pension law, or according to the full gross income, as required by the Federation of Catholic Enterprises.

The child's pension and the system of pension insurance

Intergenerational contract

The concept of the intergenerational contract is based on the assumption that intergenerational justice is achieved by the contributors paying their parents' pensions and in return receiving their pensions from their children. Proponents of the child pension argue: the parents / grandparents would have acquired this right by raising the contributor; So far, childless pensioners have received it "as a gift", ultimately at the expense of other people's children. In order to acquire the same pension scheme as parents, childless pensioners would either have to save the considerable costs that parents incur for bringing up children in addition to the normal pension contributions (funded system, they would then have no statutory pension entitlement) or they would have to share in their upbringing in equal shares Involve other children (they would then get the same pension entitlement as parents in compensation).

In contrast, it is argued that not only pensioners, but also (non-working) children are supported by the respective working generation. A large number of instruments for family burden balancing already existed. Childless people would also finance state services as taxpayers, from which citizens primarily benefit when they are children or their parents: kindergartens, schools, universities, child benefits, tax allowances, leisure activities, special tariffs, etc.

Child pension still does not mean that the more born children will actually pay pension contributions. At the same time, the pension system would have to be extended to all persons (including civil servants, freelancers and self-employed) instead of being isolated to employees, as is practiced in Switzerland, for example.

Insurance principle

The statutory pension insurance is shaped more strongly than the other pillars of the statutory social insurance by the principle of equivalence : the pension amount depends primarily on the amount of the contributions paid. This principle is already interrupted today by a number of elements (e.g. parental leave). These non-insurance benefits are financed by the federal portion of the pension insurance. A child's pension would mean a massive expansion of these non-insurance benefits and thus a clear departure from the principle of equivalence.


The child pension systems proposed so far are mostly similar to today's " years of upbringing " for pensions, which are only being expanded excessively. The child's pension is therefore the same for all parents, regardless of the development opportunities or the later contribution of the child. The waiver associated with children, both in terms of direct costs and opportunity costs , is greater for better-earning parents than for poorer parents, while statistically their children earn significantly better later, i.e. also generate more contributions in the future. In the family pension system, the fruits of their "investment" in children would be partially withdrawn from these groups, although no longer in favor of childless people, but all the more in favor of other parents. On the other hand, socially weaker parents would be subsidized beyond the value of their average generative contribution. To avoid such effects, the child's pension would have to be based on the percentage of the parents' pension contributions or other criteria that draw conclusions about the expected or actual development of the children.

Constitutional aspects

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled many years ago that the claims from the pension system - at least the so-called share of earnings, that is, what was previously "paid in" - is constitutionally protected as a property right. A reduction in pensions or pension entitlements of childless people to finance a child's pension are therefore set by constitutional limits. However, the legislature is free to largely freely dispose of the pension components financed by the state through subsidies to the statutory pension insurance (in 2004 this was 78 billion euros (€) or around 27% of expenditure) or extended federal subsidies.

Child pension in Germany

In 2003, a CSU pension concept provides for a child's pension. On July 26, 2006, the German Bishops' Conference published a more up-to-date proposal to expand child-rearing consideration within the framework of the statutory pension insurance. Scientific concepts of a child or parent's pension were developed at the Institute for Economic Policy in Cologne and at the Munich Ifo. 

Individual evidence

  1. Wilfrid Schreiber: Security of existence in industrial society (PDF; 125 kB)
  2. Family justice . Expert opinion on behalf of the Commission for Societal and Social Issues of the German Bishops' Conference. (PDF) Retrieved April 13, 2008 .
  3. ^ Raising children as a constitutive element of statutory pension insurance. (No longer available online.) Institute for Economic Policy, archived from the original on July 11, 2007 ; Retrieved April 13, 2008 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ifo special topic. Pension reform / child pension. Retrieved April 13, 2008 .
  5. Hans-Werner Sinn : A note on the verdict of the constitutional court. In: Ifo Viewpoint No. 23: Socialization of Human Capital. April 5, 2001, accessed April 13, 2008 .

See also