Academia and Family
What happens to my fixed-term contract if I become pregnant? Can I also take parental leave during my qualification period? How can I care for my parents in addition to my habilitation? Reconciling academic qualification and career with family can raise many different questions. Therefore, the University of Kassel supports its (young) scientists with targeted advice and information services.
Information on the Fixed-Term Academic Contracts Act (WissZeitVG)
According to Paragraph 2, Section 1, Sentence 5 of the Fixed-Term Academic Contracts Act (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz, WissZeitVG), the fixed-term framework of the WissZeitVG has been extended by the family policy component. It offers the employer the possibility of extending the employment relationship by two years per child if one or more children under the age of 18 are being cared for.
Prospectively, the maximum contractual extension under the ‘family policy component’ according to § 2 Section 1 Sentence 4 of the WissZeitVG of (a maximum of) two years per child is possible at the University of Kassel for positions that are subject to the time limit according to § 2 Section 1 of the WissZeitVG.
To apply for the contractual extension under the family policy component, your supervisor submits a free-form application to the staff member responsible in the Department of Human Resources and Organisation.
§ 2 Section 5 of the WissZeitVG describes the possibility of an extension due to parental or care leave.
Excerpt from the WissZeitVG §2 section. 5
(5) The duration of a fixed-term employment contract pursuant to section 1 shall be extended, with the consent of the staff member, for
- periods of leave of absence or reduction of working hours by at least one fifth of regular working hours granted for the care of one or more children under the age of 18 (even if the requirements of § 15 section 1, sentence 1 of the Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz) apply with regard to the child) or other relatives in need of care,
- periods of leave of absence for an academic or artistic activity or an academic, artistic, or vocational training, further education, or continuing education conducted outside the higher education sector or abroad,
- periods of parental leave under the Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz) and periods of a ban on employment under §§ 3, 4, 6 and 8 of the Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz) to the extent that no employment was pursued.
In the cases of sentence 1 number 1, 2 (and 5), the extension shall not exceed the duration of two years in each case. Periods under sentence 1 nos. 1 to 6 shall not be counted towards the duration of the fixed-term employment contract permissible under section (1) to the extent that they may lead to an extension of the fixed-term employment contract.
The legal entitlement to an extension is asserted by means of a form-free application by the employee. The application should state that the employment contract is to be extended in accordance with the periods of maternity/parental leave. Furthermore, the application should contain the planned date of return and how many hours the employee will work.
The application is to be submitted to the staff member responsible in the Department of Human Resources and Organisation.
Due to the Corona pandemic and the associated impact on scientific qualifications, the WissZeitVG has been supplemented by a temporary transitional regulation. For more information, please visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Information for Scholarship Holders
Unlike fixed-term academic qualification positions financed through the university’s budget or within the framework of third-party funded projects, a scholarshipdoes not entail an employment relationship. Therefore, a scholarship does not fall within the scope of social insurance and does not constitute (earned) income, as it is a non-repayable allowance.
The Maternity Protection Act applies to women who are in an employment relationship. Since a scholarship is not considered an employment relationship, the Maternity Protection Act does not apply to scholarship holders. However, many scholarship providers allow an extension of the funding period based on the protection periods of the Maternity Protection Act. Please contact the respective scholarship provider directly for more information.
Since 1 January 2018, the Maternity Protection Act also applies to students. If scholarship holders are also enrolled as doctoral students at the university, the Maternity Protection Act applies to them. Find out about existing options from the university.
Since a scholarship is not considered an employment relationship, the legal regulations on parental leave do not apply to scholarship holders. However, many scholarship providers have their own family-related regulations. Therefore, please contact your scholarship provider directly for more information.
Since a scholarship is not recognised as taxable income, scholarship holders receive the minimum amount of € 300 parental leave allowance per month.
Further information on parental leave allowance can be found on this page. Please also check whether your scholarship provider pays a child or family bonus.
Since child benefit is paid regardless of income, scholarship holders also receive child benefit. Further information on child benefit can be found on this page.
GEW guidebook: Reconciling Family and Academic Qualification. A legal guide (Vereinbarkeit von Familie und wissenschaftlicher Qualifizierung. Ein Rechtsratgeber, German language only)
This text is the result of a machine translation and serves only as a working aid. No responsibility is assumed for any inaccuracies or translation errors. The German version is legally binding in all cases.