This document provides some information on the topic of parental leave and how
it may apply to the PhD
students in Helmholtz Graduate School. These are rough
guidelines and the reader should be aware of different possibilities that may
be different for every individual case. More information is provided by each
of the related offices and are available in form of booklets and on the
internet. This document was written by Shahab Sanjari and cross-checked by Gerhard Burau from HGS-HIRe. If you have additional information please add it, preferrably naming your sources in the process.
One has to differentiate between maternity leave (German: Mutterschutz),
parental leave (German: Elternzeit) and parental financial support
(German: Elterngeld). These three are different, must be applied differently
using different forms and application procedures and are administered by
Maternity leave applies only to mothers, it starts 6 weeks before the
birth date of the child and continues to 8 weeks after
birth date of the child. During this time mothers have
a dismissal protection (cannot be fired) and cannot be forced to work.
But if they wish and if no medical concerns exit, they can work only in the
time before birth. Working during the 8 weeks after the birth is forbidden
though. For multiples (twins, etc.) and premature infants these dates are
The gynaecologist confirms the calculated date of birth in a medical
certificate. This certificate should be handed to the employer (HR department).
After the birth of the child, the birth certificate must be handed to the
health insurance company, and the employer must be informed.
During maternity leave 13,- EUR per day is paid by the health insurance
company. Assuming a regular working contract that includes social insurance
contributions (German: Sozialabgaben), additionally the difference up to the
net wage (not the gross salary) which the mother used to earn, is paid to her
by the employer, so that finally the mother earns what she used to receive
before. This money is called maternity benefit (German: Mutterschaftsgeld).
The application should be sent to the health insurance company
not earlier than 7 weeks before
the calculated birth date together
with the certificate from gynaecologist.
In case of PhD
students with a scholorship, generally only the 13,- EUR per
day is paid by the health insurance company. But the mother should ask
individually, in case other benefits apply to her (e.g. sickness benefit
(German: Krankengeld), etc.).
Parental leave can be applied for up to 3 years. The application should be
sent to the employer* latest 7 weeks before the start of the leave*.
Ask your employer for possible existing templates/forms. You must tell your
employer your plans for the leave. Also during this time parents (mother or
father) are protected against dismissal.
: If you plan to go for parental leave directly after
maternity leave, you should apply LATEST ONE WEEK AFTER the birth date of
the child! This is very important and causes many problems.
Parents' money may or may not apply to you, depending on your VISA situation
e.g. if you are a citizen of European union or not. Usually VISA that are
given solely for the purpose of education is not sufficient as a requirement.
But you are encouraged to check individually for your case. Please also check
this link: http://www.familienatlas.de/awca/a.asp?id=edq
Assuming that you fulfil the requirements, parents' money can be applied only
for the duration of up to 12 months
after the birth of the child.
If the other parent also applies for the parents leave and money, an additional
2 months is added, making a sum of up to 14 months
after the birth of
The amount of parents' money is about 65\% to 67\% of average net income of
last 12 months prior the actual birth date of the child
. If the
parents did not have an income in any of those months, then that month will
count as 0 income in the average. The maximum amount is 1800,- EUR, and the
minimum is 300,- EUR per month.
The application should be sent to the parents' money office (German:
Elterngeldstelle) immediately after you received your copies of birth
certificate from civil registry office (German: Standesamt). A list can be
found here http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/familie,did=88966.html
Baby and HGS-HIRe
As you may already know, the Helmholtz Graduate School for Hadron and Ion
Research (HGS-HIRe) is not the institution that provides the scholarship
money. HGS-HIRe is only a coordinator and manager of scholarship contracts
between different scientific and academic parties, i.e. you, your supervisor
at the university and the real funding source of the scholarship, e.g. the
Helmholtz International Center for FAIR (HIC for FAIR). To put it in a
nutshell, HGS-HIRe does not have own scholarships but it centrally organizes
scholarship programs of HIC for FAIR, EMMI, and F\&E/GP-HIR (the
doctoral scholarship program within the bilateral cooperation agreements
between GSI and the universities). Therefore it is always a good idea to
contact HGS-HIRe as primary contact point.
Any legal requests such as parental leave and money needs to be negotiated
with the funding partner that provides the scholarship money in your contract.
Unfortunately, a unified legal foundation for parental leave is missing at
this point. Scholarships are given in order to accomplish a successful project
within a given time resulting in an achievable scientific goal. The details
are then left to the other party of the contract, your supervisor.
Nevertheless, after negotiations with the partner programs providing doctoral
scholarship, HGS-HIRe has achieved the following minimum benefits for all
those scholarship students in HGS-HIRe: (1) Scholarship holders with one or
more children receive a child supplement (current rates can be found here:
). HGS-HIRe arranges for
the payment of the child supplement as soon as the scholarship holder notifies
HGS-HIRe of the childbirth. (2) The scholarship contracts of mothers and
fathers can get extended, if requested, for up to 12 month on top of the
usual scholarship term of three years. This extension is, however, subject
to the general agreement of funding by the corresponding scholarship program.
At this point, the responsibilities of the funding source and HGS-HIRe end.
How you like to use this extension of the contract is not discussed at this
level any more and should be handled individually between you and your
supervisor as described below.
Baby, your supervisor and you
Fortunately most of our supervisors are very much understanding. But for any
case, it is recommended to consider the following in order to prevent awkward
- You should inform HGS-HIRe.
- Your supervisor must know about your plans. It is strongly suggested that you discuss your parental plans during a "PhD Committee Meeting" before the birth of the child. Explain your intentions and the amount of time you like to:
- not work at all
- work half time in the office
- work half time at home
- a combination of above
- Discuss, how much should/could be expected form you during the parental leave, e.g. with a baby on the arms and even if you are at home, it is difficult to make a poster for a conference whose deadline was yesterday!
- Write the discussed points into the section "Comments" of the "PhD Committee Meeting" form and let your committee members sign it. This way the record is officially kept at HGS-HIRe office in case problems occur in the future.
More information on child care at the University of Frankfurt can be found on
the web page of http://www.gleichstellungsbuero.uni-frankfurt.de/arbeitsbereiche/familienservice/index.html
. Please also check this
under the topic of
publications for more information (unfortunately only in German). Here are
more information under http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/familie,did=89272.html
All the best for you and your baby