Reconciling Work and Family

Women in Germany are nowadays educated like never before. Their aspirations and demands have changed accordingly. This has also changed family life. Sixty percent of parents with kids under three would have liked to share their family and work duties with their partners. Only 14% of the families manage this. To be able to fulfill these wishes, and to enable better reconciliation of work and family life, there is a need for financial security, organized child care, and of course a family-friendly employer.

Support and Measures by the State

The state provides around 150 family-related types of support. Family policy consists of a variety of measures that can be divided into three topics: financial support, time, and infrastructure. Financial support includes parent benefits, child benefits and child-care benefits. 'Time' means, for instance, the right to switch to part-time employment or to go on parental leave. 'Infrastructure' includes child-care institutions and playgrounds. Information (in German) about the different types of support can be found here:

  1. Parent benefits and parental leave
  2. Family-related measures
  3. Family-related support: child day care

Offers at Our Institute

Family-Oriented Working Time Culture for Scientists of Both Genders

The majority of our scientists work at any given moment on their training and career development. In contrast to other fields, most science positions are limited in time. In this context it is important and necessary to plan the terms in such a way that pregnancy, maternity leave and parental leave do not become a disadvantage, and that family-related time off is compensated for, on a case-by-case basis, by contract extension.

We understand that contact to the research group and the institute positively influence a scientist's return to work and to research. For this reason we support our employees by helping them maintain contact and providing them full and continuous access to institute information and data.

We offer our scientists after their return flexible working times and the possibility to mostly determine their own schedule, as well as the option of a home office, for instance for data analysis or writing theses and manuscripts.

We ensure that discussions, seminars and other important events occur only during child-care hours.

We witness that in many cases family-related time off strengthens one's social competence and qualifications, and can therefore be regarded as positive, too.

Child Care

An expansion of child-care infrastructure is considered crucial when it comes to supporting couples in their decision to have children, and it improves the chances of mothers and fathers in the work market.

For family and career to be well reconciled, child day care is essential. Since August 2013 every child in Germany from age 1 until the 5th school year has the right for education, supervision and care in kindergartens or similar institutions.

Children younger than 12 months or in their 5th or 6th school year have the same right if their family situation deems it necessary—in particular employment status, parental absence due to job search, parents' pursuit of education or training, or the child's special educational needs.

An array of child-care institutions exist in Potsdam. Parents are mandatorily informed about the provisions in their local area and the pedagogical concepts that characterize the relevant institutions, and are advised on choosing.

Offers at Our Institute

The FRÖBEL kindergarten "Springfrosch" opened in September 2011 right next to our institute. Ten slots are reserved for MPI-MP children. Applying for a slot is done through our HR department.

Offers of the Max Planck Society

The Max Planck Society supports families with children in many ways:

  • Pilot project "Allowance for child care for scientists' children. 
  • The Max Planck Society contracts a service company that provides child care, in form of e.g. babysitters, au pairs or short-notice emergency care, in case of official trips, trainings or vacation. In certain cases such as conferences abroad, child-care costs may be paid by the Society. This service is relevant for eldercare, too. 
  • Audit berufundfamilie (Career and Family) is a  strategic management instrument that is used by firms and institutes in order to orient their human-resources policies in a manner that cherishes family and life stages. Employers that subject themselves to Audit undertake bespoke, demand-based measures for their personnel. The Max Planck Society obtained in June 2016 for the fourth time since 2006 the certificate from berufundfamilie, following an audit process and goal definition. 

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation

The Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation supports talented, young female PhD students in the natural sciences who have children.

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