Balancing Work and Family
Career planing often competes with private and family interestes. In order to reconcile family and work the Max Planck Society has taken extensive actions to support their employees.
The Max Planck Society is the only German scientific organisation that qualifies for the non-profit-making PLC "work and family" (berufundfamilie) certificate, which acknowledges its family-oriented personnel policy. Finding ways to help our employees balance family and work cannot replace the need for social change in this matter; but providing support can help avoid that the question "children or career?" does not end up becoming an "either-or decision", especially for women.
Parent-child Room at MPQ
The MPQ features a parent-child room, where employees can work in the case of emergencies (unexpected closure of day-care centre etc.). The room contains a play area and toys for children. We also make an effort to provide childcare at larger insitute events, as well as financial subsidies for childcare in the case of conferences away from home.
The Max Planck Society has worked with the service company "pme Familienservice" for many years. The company has information centres throughout Germany and arranges care services – from childminders, nursery places, care if the child is ill, through to organising holiday camps and guidance for the care of elderly dependants. The Family Service also offers an extensive qualification and further education programme for carers. Employees at the Max Planck Institutes can use this service free of charge; any expenses incurred for advice and administration are paid by the Max Planck Society. All costs for the care itself are paid by the families directly to the person or organisation providing the care, based on the type and scope of the care provided.
The Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation support talented young female scientists with children who want to carve out some time for their research activities. Founded in 2004 with funds from the Nobel Prize, the initiative is supported by the Max Planck Society with 30.000 euros annually. "Money is the most common way to buy time", is the credo of Max Planck Director Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. The Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation awards a monthly stipend of up to 400 euros for a maximum of three years to female scientists pursuing their PhD. The prerequisite is that means of subsistence and full childcare are already taken care of. Applications can be made twice a year, on June 30 and December 31.
Dual Career Service
In order to attract the best scientists, the general framework conditions must complement the scientific environment. For this reason, the Max Planck Society has long supported the welcoming culture of its institutes through very concrete measures. The Max Planck Society works closely with dual-career partners in regional networks to help spouses and partners of scientists find suitable employment at a new location. In this way and through additional non-pecuniary services, the MPG aims to increase its attractiveness in the competition for the best female and male scientists, contributing to the promotion of equal opportunities for women and men and improving the work-family balance.
Flexible Working Hours
Employees with family responsibilities, including caring for relatives, are offered part-time and remote work options.
Female scientists with fixed-term employment contracts in accordance with the “Wissenschaftszeitgesetz” can claim an extension of their contract in the event of pregnancy and childbirth.