Information for university members with family responsibilities

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.

TO THE FAMILY SERVICE

Compatibility of work and teaching with family responsibilities

Special regulations for employees and extension of children's sickness benefit

Below you will find the current regulations in case your child is ill and needs to be cared for at home. In addition, you will find regulations in case the kindergarten/school in your district/self-governing city is still affected by a "closure" or is affected by one in the future.

Regulations during operation of the respective kindergarten/school

The state Ministry of Education, Science and Cultural Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Youth, Family and Senior Citizens, has published recommendations for dealing with cold symptoms in kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools (the so called "sniffles plan"). You can find the corresponding diagrams on the website of the state of Schleswig-Holstein. The corresponding charts can be found on the website of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein.

Childcare benefits or exemption from work for childcare (illness of a child or closure of schools and kindergartens)

The following applies to employees subject to collective bargaining agreements:

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. There are legally stipulated special provisions for statutory health insurance for the calendar years 2021 and 2022, with an exceptional allowance of 30 days per child and parent and 60 days for single parents. In the case of multiple children, the entitlement is increased up to a maximum of 65 days, or in the case of single parents up to a maximum of 130 days. The entitlement applies to working parents that are statutory health insurance members, who are themselves entitled to sick pay, and who have a child below the age of 12 that is also a statutory health insurance member. For children with disabilities, the entitlement also applies above the age of 12. It is also a prerequisite that there is no other person in the household who can take care of the child. The entitlement is irrespective of whether the work can also be performed from home, in principle. Sick pay is paid for this time off.

If the child is sick, the need for care must be proved to the health insurance company with a medical certificate from the child’s doctor. For this purpose, the form "Medical certificate for the receipt of sick pay in the event of a child's illness" must be completed. The sick pay is paid out directly by the relevant statutory health insurance company.

Since the salary payment by the employer is discontinued for the period of the sick pay, the responsible staff member in the Human Resources Department must be informed immediately of the intended exemption from work for childcare, along with the employee’s superior. To do this, please send a copy of the medical certificate to the Human Resources Department. The health insurance company makes the final decision on the entitlement to exemption from work. We recommend that you also contact your health insurance company at the same time, so that there are no delays with payment of the sick pay.

Insofar as the entitlement exists for cases in which childcare becomes necessary at home, because the school or the kindergarten is completely or partially closed due to the pandemic, or compulsory attendance in the classroom is suspended, the regulation in place until the end of the year has been extended. The days can be used for childcare for a sick child, and for a limited period of time until 23.09.2022, also for childcare because the school or kindergarten has been closed, or compulsory attendance in the classroom is suspended, or attendance has been restricted. If a child must be cared for at home due to closure of the school or kindergarten, a certificate from the respective institution is required. The sick pay is paid out directly by the relevant statutory health insurance company.

Since the salary payment by the employer is discontinued for the period of the sick pay, the responsible staff member in the Human Resources Department must be informed immediately of the intended exemption from work for childcare, along with the employee’s superior. To do this, please send a copy of the certificate from the school or kindergarten to the Human Resources Department. The health insurance company makes the final decision on the entitlement to exemption from work. We recommend that you also contact your health insurance company at the same time, so that there are no delays with payment of the sick pay.

The following applies to employees subject to collective bargaining agreements who are not entitled to exemption from work in terms of Section 45 SGB V:

For employees subject to collective bargaining agreements who are not entitled to exemption from work in terms of Section 45 SGB V because they themselves or their child/children are not statutory health insurance members, the regulation in place for civil servants continues to apply, subject to the condition that an exemption from work is granted for an initial period of three working days in accordance with Section 29 (3) TV-L. The exemption from work may be extended for a further three days at a time, provided that the conditions are still met.

The following applies to civil servants:

Civil servants who must care for a sick child below the age of 12 are subject to Section 13 (2) SUVO. In order to avoid personal hardship, additional days off may be granted in individual cases to the extent required, in accordance with Section 20 SUVO in conjunction with Section 13 (2) SUVO. With regard to claims for additional days off for cases in which childcare is required at home and another person is not available to provide the childcare, the granting of special leave according to Section 20 SUVO is possible upon justified request, provided that the work cannot be performed in the workplace or from home office and/ or it is not possible in the form of mobile work in addition to the childcare; this possibility to obtain exemption from work applies until 23.09.2022.

In general, the following applies:

As a matter of priority, in consultation with their superior, the employee affected should make use of the possibilities of flexible working hours and in particular the opportunity to work from home. The University Board is aware that due to the often difficult situation associated with this childcare, the full work performance cannot always be delivered, and this additional burden cannot always be fully compensated in the private environment. It will also send this appeal to the superiors with an urgent request to take into account the current emergency situation.

In order to arrange a solution that is appropriate for your childcare situation, please contact your responsible staff member in the Human Resources Department – in consultation with your superior – in order to jointly agree on an individual solution for taking into account the (remaining) working hours available to you in work time recording. If the childcare situation is still not manageable despite taking full advantage of all the measures listed above, the conditions for a further leave of absence or exemption from work can also be addressed together during this consultation. However, the newly-created entitlement to extended sick pay for childcare must have been fully utilised beforehand.

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 superior in advance.

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.

Academic fixed-term

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.

Compatability of studies with family responsibilities

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.

Who can submit an application?

Students

  • 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.

Councelling

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.

Contact

Bettina Bolterauer: 0431/880-2019
Celine Pump: 0431 880-5221
familienservice@gb.uni-kiel.de

Counseling Family Service

Employees with care responsibilities

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.

How do the current Corona regulations influence visitation rights?

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.

Information about childcare and schools

School education

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).

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?

The aim is to provide care that is adapted to the incidence of infection and it is possible to register for the holiday programme. Due to the variable occurrence of infections, the implementation of the holiday programme cannot be guaranteed and the employees will be informed by circular email about the taking place of the holiday programme.

More information about the holiday program on the website of the family service.

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).

Parental allowance and further support during the pandemic

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.

Regulation for pregnant women

During the COVID 19 pandemic, a risk in the sense of maternity protection law is always to be assumed if the employee has special contact with people due to their occupation or training. This is the case if the protection standard resulting from the respective legal requirements (Infection Protection Act, Corona Control Ordinance) cannot be met or can only be met in part within the framework of the occupational activity or training.
Protective measures include, for example, maintaining the minimum distance, wearing masks or hand hygiene.

The following are examples of special personal contacts where an increased risk of infection is to be expected 

  • occupational activities with many contacts (public transport, retail trade)
  • occupational activities in which the minimum distance of 1.5 m from people cannot be maintained, e.g. in medical care,
  • occupational activities where there is insufficient opportunity for pregnant women to comply with hygiene regulations (e.g. reasonableness of wearing protective masks).

An individual risk assessment must be carried out when the pregnancy becomes known. The pregnant woman must be offered a discussion on adjustments to working conditions. 

On the website of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, you will find the information leaflet Information on the assessment of risks from SARS-CoV-2 under maternity protection law