The Corona pandemic brings with it great strains, especially for families. Of course, childcare or the care for family members must therefore be taken into account. Below you will find detailed information on how to reconcile studying, teaching, research and work with family responsibilities.
Below you will find the current regulations in case your child is ill and has to be cared for at home. In addition, you will find regulations in the event that the childcare facility in your district/town is still affected by a "closure" or will be affected in the future.
In those parts of Schleswig-Holstein in which the incidence rate allows it, childcare facilities will open for regular childcare during the pandemic.
In those parts of Schleswig-Holstein in which the incidence rate allows it (Kiel is amongst these), attendance or alternating teaching takes place again in the schools. You can find more information on the 'school openings' on the website of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein (in German).
Previous special regulations for childcare in cases of “closure” of childcare facility/school, will apply respectively to facilities which stay “closed” or are “closed” again. If the facility is back in operation, the usual regulations as listed below apply in case of illness of the child.
Regulations when the childcare facility/school is in operation
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Youth, Family and Senior Citizens, has published recommendations for the occurrence of cold symptoms in childcare facilities and primary as well as for secondary schools ("Sniffles plan/Schnupfenplan"). The corresponding charts can be found on the website of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein
In accordance with service law the general regulations apply:
If the child is sick, it is cared for at home. Depending on the employment contract, the employee has a certain number of days that they can use for this purpose. The law stipulates 30 days per child and parent. Single parents are granted 60 days respectively. If there are several children, the entitlement increases to a maximum of 65 days, or a maximum of 130 days for single parents.
Eligible are legally insured, working parents who are themselves entitled to sickness benefit, with a legally insured child who has not yet reached the age of 12. In the case of children who have a disability, also beyond the age of 12. It is also a prerequisite that there is no other person in the household who can look after the child. The entitlement exists irrespective of whether the work could in principle also be done at home. Sickness benefit is paid for this time.
If the child is sick, the need for care must be proven to the health insurance fund with a certificate from the attending doctor. For this purpose, the "Ärztliche Bescheinigung für den Bezug von Krankengeld bei Erkrankung eines Kindes" (medical certificate for the receipt of sickness benefit in case of illness of a child) is filled in. The sickness benefit is paid directly by the respective statutory health insurance fund.
Since the employer will stop paying the salary for the period of sickness benefit, the responsible administrator of of the Human Resources Department must be informed immediately of the intended leave of absence to care for the child, as well as the superior. Please send a copy of the medical certificate to the Human Resources Department. The health insurance fund will make a final decision on the entitlement to leave. We recommend that you contact your health insurance fund at the same time so that there are no delays in the payment of sick pay.
Employees who do not have statutory health insurance themselves or whose child does not have statutory health insurance are asked to find an individual solution together with the Human Resources Division.
For civil servants, the regulations of Section 13 of the Special Leave Regulations (Sonderurlaubsverordnung) of the state of Schleswig-Holstein (German only) apply.
In addition to the alternatives described above, there is also the possibility to care for children using annual leave, overtime or flexible working arrangements, provided such arrangements have been agreed with the supervisor in advance.
Regulations when the childcare facility/school is "closed"
The employees concerned should continue to make use of the options for flexible working hours and, above all, mobile working, in consultation with their superiors. The university managment is aware of the often difficult care situation leading to difficulties in achieving the usual work performance and compensate the additional work load in the private sphere. It also sends an urgend request to superiors to take the current exceptional situation into account.
Child sickness benefit for employees/people who are legally insured with sickness benefit entitlement and a child that is legally insured at "closed" schools and childcare facilities
In addition, employees who are legally insured and entitled to sickness benefits with a child that is legally insured have the option of applying for children's sickness benefits. The regulation of § 45 SGB V on children's sickness benefit for statutorily insured employees was extended accordingly in view of the Corona pandemic. Parents are now entitled to an extended sickness benefit and the accompanying time of to care for children in 2021, also if childcare becomes necessary for reasons besides sickness. These reasons might be that childcare facilities, schools or facilities for people with disabilities are temporarily closed by the responsible authority to prevent the spread of infections or communicable diseases on the basis of the Infection Protection Act or their entry is prohibited on the basis of segregation; or that school or company holidays are ordered or extended by the responsible authority for reasons of infection protection; or that compulsory attendance at a school is lifted or access to childcare is restricted; or that the child does not attend the facility on the basis of an official recommendation.
Entitlement to child sickness benefit increases from 10 days per parent and child to 30 days. For single parents the entitlement per child is 60 days. If there are several children, the entitlement increases to a maximum of 65 days, or max. 130 days for single parents.
These days can be used to care for a sick child as well as for childcare in general because the school or childcare facility has been closed, compulsory attendance has been suspended or access has been restricted.
Working parents who are legally insured are entitled to sickness benefit for themselves and children under the age of 12. Parents of children with disabilities are also entitles to sickness benefit for children over the age of 12. To make use of the sickness benefit there may not be another person in the house hold who can look after the child. The entitlement exists irrespective of whether the work could in principle also be done in a home office.
If a child has to be cared for at home due to closed schools or childcare facilities, a certificate from the respective facility is sufficient. The sickness benefit is paid directly by the respective statutory health insurance.
Since the employer stops paying the salary for the period of sickness benefit, the responsible administrator in the Human Resources Department must be informed immediately of the intended leave of absence to care for the child, as must the superior. Please send a copy of the certificate from the school or childcare facility to the Human Resources Department. The health insurance ultimately decides on the entitlement to exemption. We recommend that you contact your health insurance simultaneously so that there are no delays in the payment of sickness benefits.
Regulations for civil servants and pay-scale employees without entitlement according to § 45 SGB V
Civil servants can apply for special leave according to § 20 of the Special Leave Ordinance if and to the extent that they have to stay at home to look after their children due to the closure of schools, childcare facilities, or if the children are not allowed to attend childcare facilities or schools due to a suspected case. As a matter of principle, mobile working options in addition to childcare are to be used or exhausted as a matter of priority.
For employees covered by collective agreements who are not entitled to time off according to § 45 SGB V because they themselves or the child or children are not covered by statutory health insurance, time off from work can be granted - in accordance with the regulation for civil servants - according to § 29 para. 3 of the collective agreement for the public service of the state governments.
In order to agree upon an individual solution, please contact – in consultation with your superior – your contact person on the Human Resources Department. Here your personal care situation and possible (remaining) working hours during time registration can be taken into account. The prerequisites for further leave of absence or leave of absence, if the care situation is still not possible after exhausting all the measures listed above, can also be discussed during this counselling interview. However, the newly created entitlement to extended sickness benefit for care must be exhausted beforehand.
Reduction of teaching responsibilities
Unfortunatly, it is not possible to reduce teaching responsibilities because of family responsibilities in accordance with the LVVO.
Work contracts in the qualification phase can be extended
Academic fixed-term contracts for employees in their scientific qualification phase can be extended due to pandemic after a change in current law.
The Act on Academic Fixed-Term Contracts (WissZeitVG) has ,against the background of the pandemic, been amended restrospectively with effect from 01.03.2020 to include a transitional arrangement for a limited period of time, by the addition of Section 7 (3) WissZeitVG. The current wording of the amendment is as follows (translation from the German original):
"(3) The total permitted duration of fixed-term employment in accordance with Section 2 (1) Clause 1 and 2 shall be extended by six months, if an employment relationship exists in accordance with Section 2 (1) between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is hereby authorised to use statutory regulation, with the consent of the Bundesrat, to extend the permitted duration of fixed-term employment for a further period of up to six months, if this appears necessary due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Federal Republic of Germany; the extension shall also apply to employment relationships entered into after 30 September 2020 and prior to the expiry of the extension period referred to in the statutory regulation."
The legislator has thereby created a means of mitigating the additional coronavirus-related burdens on scientists who are in the qualification phase.
The new legal regulation applies to scientific staff who have an employment contract in terms of Section 2 (1) WissZeitVG for their own academic qualification in the period from 01.03.2020 to 30.09.2020. Employment may continue beyond the usual 6-year maximum period during the pandemic-related restrictions. The extension of the maximum period of fixed-term employment was initially limited to a maximum of six months. There is no legal claim to an extension of the employment relationship.
The employment relationship may be extended if the respective institution is able to secure funding, and if continuation of employment is applied for in the usual way via Human Resources. Additional central funding is not available.
The Corona-related impairments will continue beyond September 30, 2020. Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has extended the period for six month until March 31, 2021. In compliance with the above mentiones conditions, the maximum time limets have been inreased by further 6 month.
If you have any questions, please contact your HR staff member.
Pandemic-related changes regarding studies
Kiel University provides information for students regarding the pandemic upon its website and keeps this information up to date. This includes information about compulsory attendance, risk groups and pregnancy and examinations. In addition, there is further information on the website of the faculties and departments.
Disadvantage compensation for students with family responsibilities
It is possible to apply for a disadvantage compensation because of family responsibilities during the Corona-crisis.
- in particular life situations (pregnancy, bringing up children, caring for relatives)
- with chronic illness/disability
- who experience corona-related disadvantages (long-term restrictions, e.g. membership of risk groups, lack of technical equipment, and acute restrictions, e.g. quarantine)
have the opportunity to apply for disadvantage compensation for courses and examinations.
How does the application process work?
Please submit your request in good time (if possible well before the date of the course/exam) to the responsible authorities listed below and ask about the exact procedure:
- In case of acute restrictions, please consult your teacher first to discuss how to proceed. If you miss course dates in courses requiring attendance, please clarify first whether the absence is excusable within the framework of the absence regulations without having to submit an application for disadvantage compensation.
- For long-term restrictions, please contact the Examinations Office responsible for your degree programme (German only). Students of medicine and dentistry should contact the Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Medicine.
Then, please submit directly an informal application for disadvantage compensation to the responsible authority (see above), explaining your restrictions. Please enclose proof and, if possible, medical recommendations for suitable compensatory measures. This will help the chairperson of the examination board and the teachers to find a suitable measure to compensate for disadvantages.
The responsible authorities will take into account whether measures are equivalent to the expected performance and feasible for everyone involved. In some cases this might mean that it is not possible to offer an adequate compensation measure, which is equal and organisationally feasible.
The decision will usually be communicated by stu-Mail. If the decision is positive, the organisational details may have to be discussed with the teacher in the next step.
- Information on compatability of studies with family responsibilities, concerning the offers of the AStA (in German)
- Information on compatability of studies with family responsibilities, concerning the offers of Studentenwerk SH (in German)
- General information, concerning the offers of Studentenwerk SH.
The Family Service offers confidential couseling and can be contacted with individual questions. In case of particular questions we will research the topic and let you know our findings. We represent the needs of Kiel University´s families towards the University Board and other facilities within Kiel University.
The Federal Government has decided support measures for employees with care responsibilities (e.g. eldercare). This includes the increase of Pflegeunterstützungsgeld, the prolongation of the possible leave-period to deal with acute care situations and other services.
Parents, who live in separate households, are both allowed to have contact to their child. Contact restrictions related to the pandemic do not apply. Visitation rights, that were in place before the pandemic, stay in place.
Opening or closing of schools is related to the incidence rate in the relevant district or city.
More information is provided by your school. Current information is available on the FAQ-Website of the state SH concerning schools (in German only) or on the website for information about schools of the state SH (in German only).
Childcare in Kitas and Tagespflege
In those parts of Schleswig-Holstein in which the incidence rate allows it (Kiel is amongst these), childcare facilities will open for regular childcare during the pandemic.
The childcare facility will provide you with more information. More information is also available on the FAQ-Website of the state SH concerning Kitas (in German only) or on the website for information about Kitas of the state SH (in German only).
Am I eligible for emergency childcare in schools or childcare facilities?
Children are eligible for emergency childcare during the closure of schools or childcare facilities if there is no alternative possibility of childcare and if these criteria apply:
- One parent has a job in a critical infrastructure (see here in German § 19 der VO ).
- Children of working single parents
- Children with special needs, that cannot be supported at home
- If a child´s welfare has to be protected specifically
- Generally also children that need special language education
Parents have to provide proof towards the childare facilities, that they are eligible.
Is there an extra childcare provided by Kiel University?
No, current law does not allow an extra childcare.
Will there be a CAU holiday program for schoolchildren in 2021?
This will depend upon the further outcome of the pandemic and linked regulations. If the holiday program for schoolchildren can take place, information will be available through email and on the website. Provisional applications for the holiday program will be accepted until then.
Compensation of reduced income due to childcare responsibilities
Parents who are or were not able to work because of additional childcare responsibilities due to Corona can apply for compensation at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. More informarion on parental compensation (in German). Apply for compensation online (in German).
The German government has adjusted parental allowance in these special times in order to avert any disadvantages for families because of COVID-19. There are also other family benefits that have been adjusted.