Children and family  

Children and family

Family room

The Humboldt Graduate School building Luisenstraße 56 has a family room for use by doctoral candidates, conference visitors, and staff with children. It has a cosy area for children and their minders, with a cot, a sofa, toys, etc., and is equipped with two desks, one with a PC (internet and W-LAN access is available by application).
     To book the family room and internet/W-LAN access, please contact the Humboldt Graduate School's Management Office, (030) 2093-1720, hgs-office-please remove this
     Location: Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56, Haus 1, North Wing, 1st Floor, Room 219

KidsMobil: Babysitters for M&B members or official visitors

To book professional babysitters or child minders, please contact us on mb-office-please remove this or (030) 2093-1707, and also read this page on our website: KidsMobil child care service

Advice and support for M&B doctoral candidates and postdocs with children or with health problems

This is what you should know about scholarships and the difference between scholarships/stipends (these two terms are used synonymously in Germany) and salaried (university) positions:

By law and owing to the rules of third-party funding agencies, the entitlements, terms and conditions regarding prolonged illness, pregnancy, Mutterschutz (maternity protection), Kindergeld (child support), and Elternzeit (parental leave) differ significantly for people who are on ...

- salaried (university) positions that include both employers' and employees' statutory monthly contributions to the national income tax, social security, unemployment insurance, pension schemes, and health insurance,

- taxfree third-party-funded research scholarships that demand from scholarship holders no further financial obligations (apart from reduced health insurance payments) or statutory duties to their university/research institution or the state.

Scholarship holders are not employed, and the only real obligation they have is to devote their time fully to their research project. However, this freedom also means that they are ...

- not entitled to four to six weeks of statutory paid holidays (as most employees in Germany are), and holiday breaks thus need to be negotiated with heads of labs and/or supervisors and/or the school,

- not entitled to continue to receive their research-related scholarship during long periods of sickness – past six weeks, the school and the DFG or other resp. funding agencies need to be informed,

- not entitled to take parental leave (Elternzeit) while continuing to receive their monthly research-related scholarships. When they pause their scholarship to apply for state-funded parental leave payments, they will only receive the minimum of 300 Euro per child (Elterngeld),

- (usually) not entitled to paid maternal protection leaves (Mutterschutz) of 6 weeks before birth and 8 weeks after birth, though at M&B we have always made funding available for these 3.5 months, and some funding agencies now have begun to grant this period as a paid break,

- not entitled to state-financed child support (Kindergeld) payments, though at M&B our scholarship payments to parents have always included child subsidies of 400 Euro for the first child and 100 Euro for each further child (Kinderzuschlag).

The reason for this non-entitlement is that paid holidays and the right to government-funded sickness payments, parental leave, more comprehensive payments during parental leave, and child support are state-subsidized benefits that are linked to the employment and tax payments of the person in question. These benefits, therefore, do not apply to people who neither pay taxes nor make any other contribution into the public purse.

So why scholarships?

So why are scholarships/stipends used to fund doctoral candidates, and not exclusively salaried positions? There are many reason for this: Scholarships are much more flexible regarding duration and distribution, they usually grant maximum freedom and time for research (without any teaching, supervision, and administrative obligations to the institution, which often take up 50% of doctoral candidates' time), and they cost a quarter of a full-time doctoral position. For graduate schools this means that with the sum required to employ one full-time doctoral candidate they can admit four candidates on scholarships to their education and training programs. To be able to give four people the chance for research and education instead of one is a strong argument. However, whether more people with doctorates is a good or a bad thing is part of an ongoing public debate about doctoral education and the number of doctoral candidates accepted into doctoral studies. You, your supervisors, our graduate school, the universities, the research-funding agencies, politics, the taxpayer, future employers, are all part of the quest for the best way forward for doctoral research, education, and training in Germany.

Individual counseling

Lives of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, whether on salaries or on scholarship contracts, can be(come) fairly complicated, and there are many different individual circumstances and individual problems, and thus, accordingly, only individual solutions to these problems.

It is paramount that people who have serious disabilities or illnesses, who are parents or about to become parents or planning to become parents, make sure that they know what accepting a scholarship/stipend may mean for them.

The school offers advice and support for M&B doctoral candidates and postdocs with children or with health problems. When doctoral or postdoctoral researchers meet with us, we explore what their options are, where and how they can find support, what they can expect from the school and what they cannot expect, and what the school, the employing institution, or the third-party research funding agency will expect of them.

For an appointment, please contact Dr. Anne Löchte on anne.loechte-please remove this or Annette Winkelmann on annette.winkelmann-please remove this

Humboldt-Universität Family Office

You may also consult with the Humboldt-Universität Family Office. If you are a candidate at FU Berlin, TU Berlin, Charité, etc., please check with their family offices.


This page last updated on: 24 January 2018