German New Year babies bring extra prosperity

2nd January 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 January 2007, Halle, Germany (dpa) - Babies born on New Year's Day in Germany brought their parents extra prosperity, thanks to a change in welfare laws that abruptly raised public subsidies to families by up to 25,200 euros (33,100 dollars).

2 January 2007

Halle, Germany (dpa) - Babies born on New Year's Day in Germany brought their parents extra prosperity, thanks to a change in welfare laws that abruptly raised public subsidies to families by up to 25,200 euros (33,100 dollars).

Mothers who gave birth before midnight on New Year's Eve missed out. The benefit only applies to births after January 1, 2007.

'Of course some parents did hope that their children would arrive a little later,' said senior doctor Volker Thaele of Halle University Hospital's maternity department. In recent weeks, German newspapers have even offered advice on how to retard labour.

None of the advice seemed to have worked in Halle, a mid-sized city in eastern Germany, where no babies at all were delivered Monday morning, whereas six had been delivered in the preceding 48 hours.

The complexities of the new tax and welfare rules mean that the main beneficiaries are high-earning professional women in the top tax bracket who received no subsidies in the past. Non-working wives were better off under the old rules. The changes are to encourage births.

Susanne Guertler, 28, was among the last mothers to give birth in 2006. Son Flynn, 2800 grams, was born at 5 a.m. Sunday. But Guertler does not work. 'So it's great for us,' she said.

Halle's last baby came at 6.20 pm on Sunday.

'That mother would have done very well out of the new rules and I think she was a bit disappointed,' said Thale.

Copyright DPA

Subject: German news

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