Questions and Answers for Human Resources Representatives


FAQ - Human Resources Representatives

What are the legal guidelines for pregnant and nursing women regarding working with hazardous substances and heavy manual labor?

The Maternity Protection Act stipulates: "Expecting mothers are not permitted to perform heavy, physical labor or to work with or amongst materials, substances, radiation, dust, gases or vapors or in extreme elements, including heat, cold, wet, vibrations or noise that could be deemed potential hazardous to their health." - Section 4(1).

More information about employment restrctions, hazardous chemical stubstances, biological working materials, and physical harmful factors, to which expecting or nursing mothers should not be exposed, is available in the Regulations for the Protection of Mothers in the Workplace.

The employer is obligated to evaluate the type, extent, and duration of the danger for employment where expecting or nursing mothers can be exposed to danger. Experts can be entrusted to conduct the evaluation.

Anyone who does not correctly or completely brief an expecting or nursing mother on the regulations or who employs an expecting or nursing mother against the regulations is subject to criminal prosecution.

You can contact the University Medical Center for the necessary evaluation of danger or if you have questions.

Are costs for accompanying persons on business trips reimbursed, when the accompanying person cares for the child during the trip?

According to the State Travel Expense Law, costs for an accompanying person can be reimbursed if the primary traveler is still nursing. Otherwise there is no possibility to have the costs reimbursed for an accompanying person caring for the child. We strongly recommend speaking with the Travel Management and Benefits Office (Division 8.3) in advance.

Are staffmembers entitled to vacation during maternity and parental leave?

Staffmembers are entitled to vacation during maternity leave. Vacation days are calculated as they are during regular periods of employment. Entitlement to vacation is reduced by one twelfth for every full month of parental leave. Part-time employees are entitled to partial vacation during parental leave. You can find instructions on how to calculate vacation in the RWTH vacation handbook in the intranet.

Is the employer or institute reimbursed for the earnings that continued to be paid during this time?

Health insurance companies pay a maternity leave stipend – regardless of income – for employees, who go on maternity leave. As the employer, RWTH – via the LBV – is responsible for the difference up to sum of the previous average net salary.

Divison 7.2 establishes a PSP element for all cases, through which the paid maternity leave stipend and the reimbursement from the health insurance companies are expensed. This prevents University institutions from being burdened with advance financing or from needing to wait for reimbursement from the health insurance companies for the project account.

With the exception of a few deviations, the general assumption is that the health insurance companies or Federal Insurance Office will assume the full amount of the earnings paid out, so that, at the most, only low additional central costs occur. Should the difference end up greater, the central absorption of costs will need to be reviewed.

Can a substitute be hired and funded during a salaried employee's maternity leave?

If a position is funded from the budget, HSP, QVM, or 94-funds, a subsitute can be hired starting the first day of maternity of leave. The University is reimbursed the amount of the employee's salary including the employer contribution to the entire social insurance contribution by the employee's health insurance company or the Federal Insurance Office for those privately insured. This allows for a substitute to be funded. If the position is funded from other sources, the hiring of a substitute – independent from cost neutrality – can depend on the conditions of approval. Please consult with Division 7.4 in individual cases.

Can the employment contract of a substitute already have a termination date for the end of the parental leave planned to follow the maternity leave?

As parental leave cannot legally be requested until after the birth, the employment contract cannot initially extend to include the parental leave. An extension of the contract beyond the duration of maternity leave is possible, if financing is secured and the prerequisites for an unfounded fixed term employment are fulfilled pursuant to Section 14(2) Part-Time Work and Fixed-Term Employment Law – TzBfG. Please consult with Divisions 8.1 and 8.2 in individual cases.

Can a substitute be hired and funded during a civil servant's maternity leave?

As a family-friendly university RWTH aims to avoid different handling practices for salaried employees and civil servants. For this reason, it will centrally finance a subsitute for civil servants during the given period until further notice. This regulation is of course subject to financing conditions.

Can employees work part-time during parental leave?

An employee is entitled to work part-time during parental leave if the employer employs more than 15 employees, the employment has been in effect for more than six months, and no immediate operational reasons oppose the entitlement.

There is an additional requirement that the working time must be reduced to between 15 and 30 hours per week for at least two months.

The employer must be informed of the the part-time employment in writing at least seven weeks before employment begins; if employment occurs between the ages of three and eight of the child, the deadline is 13 weeks.

Are fixed-term employment contracts extended as a result of parental leave?

Fixed-term employment contracts are not extended as a result of parental leave. Certain exceptions apply to academic staff members whose fixed-term contracts are subject to the regulations according to the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz, WissZeitVG for short.

In cases of fixed-term contracts regulated by Section 2 (1) WissZeitVG, the duration of a fixed-term employment contract will be extended by those time periods, during which an employee has not worked due to being protected by maternity leave guidelines or having availed herself of the right to take parental leave (Section 2 (5) WissZeitVG).

For more information, please contact the human resources department – Department 8.0.

What happens to a staff member's position on a committee or board when they take maternity or parental leave?

The deputy chair or deputy member assumes the position. If you have questions, please contact Department 1.

If a professorship is to be continued part-time during parental leave, a corresponding part-time substitute must be appointed. However, this doesn't appear possible for academic staff in civil servant positions. What solutions are there?

Unfortunately there are none. Civil Service Law dictates that a civil servant assume the higher paid employment responsibilities without additional benefits for a duration of up to 18 months.

How is the performance agreement for part-time employment adapted during parental leave or when another employees assumes the part-time responsibilities as a substitute?

Part-time poses a "frustration of contact" within the framework of a performance agreement, when it did not exist at the time the performance agreement was arranged and was also not foreseeable. The performance agreement is adapted between the involved parties.

Where can I get advice for my individual case?

The Family Services Center in the Equal Opportunities Office provides information and advising to (expecting) parents on the topics maternity leave, parental leave, parenting allowance, and childcare, and supports them with making their plans.

Division 7.4 – External Funding advises institutions on any settlement questions with the respective project (sponsor). As there are thousands of different programs at RWTH Aachen, which fund employees' positions, project-specific advising is required.

The Department of Human Resources offers advising for all human resources matters.