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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Family Support Centre

Success Factor Family - Principles of the HU

Adopted by the president of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin at a meeting on 8 December 2011.

To implement the agreements concluded during the audit, the president of HU has developed the following principles for personnel management and student education. Adhering to them will ensure that we are aware of and actively promote a sustainable work-studies-life balance. This should eventually become a locational and competitive advantage. HU aims to acquire and retain students, technical and management staff and qualified scientists at all stages of life, and we need to make our standards as a family-friendly university visible, tangible and productive for them.



The Family-friendly university audit is an ongoing process and our goal is to retain the certificate permanently. For this purpose, we analyse our university-specific challenges and realities and identify suitable areas and options for action. One factor is key: family-friendliness must be viewed as part of the university culture. To this end, the Further Professional Qualification department regularly offers seminars for executive staff and employees on specific themes. Input from the Family Support Centre is included to cover the issue of family-friendliness at the university. There are also regular informational events on the topics of student parents and looking after relatives.



The Family Support Centre is permanently anchored in HU’s structure. It promotes the further development and implementation of a systematic overall concept to improve family-friendliness at HU, helps students and staff find care options and offers comprehensive counselling on all aspects of maintaining a work-studies-life balance.



Our commitment is based on an appreciation of family competence and on maintaining a work-studies-life balance.


On the basis of the service agreement covering flexible working hours, we also give our employees the opportunity to organise their work in a flexible, family-friendly way. Managers are called upon to take family issues and necessities (day nursery opening hours, etc.) into account wherever possible when planning their employees’ working hours.

If necessary, employees can also be granted short-term leave for up to ten days to organise appropriate care for needy relatives. If this care will be undertaken by the employee in the long term, he or she is entitled to request a full or partial leave of absence from work. This care period lasts for a maximum of six months for each close relative requiring care. The German Home Care Leave Act is the basis for these provisions.

Managers are called upon to develop flexible solutions on a case-by-case basis: for example, employees who have to care for ill relatives at home must be offered the opportunity to work from home if their job requirements do not prevent this. Where necessary and possible, those affected should be provided with a laptop for this purpose.

We strive to offer students with children or needy relatives the option of part-time study or other flexible study options. With the ‘compensation for disadvantage’ option, the president also firmly supports flexibility regarding academic achievements, examination results and deadline issues for student parents or carers. 

In addition, the Federal Education and Training Funding Act (BAföG) provisions offer extensions to the standard time for completing a course and therefore, to the funding period, as a result of parenthood.

The university has also created other family-friendly conditions for work and study. Employment relationships are designed to ensure that parenthood, bringing up children and caring for needy relatives are compatible with study and professional duties. Where possible, committee meetings, work meetings, colloquia, Further Professional Qualification events and similar are organised to take place at times that enable university members with families to attend. We are creating quiet areas, nappy-changing facilities and play corners or areas based on need. Cafeterias and libraries have child-friendly usage options and seating areas.



In the event of long absences as a result of parental or care leave, we are focusing more on initiating re-entry and contact maintenance programmes to make re-entry smoother and to make it easier to remain in contact with university members.



Childcare for the children of university members is of vital importance to the university management. This involves sustainable concepts which meet the needs of university members. In addition to the ‘Die Humbolde’ daycare centre, the university offers in-house care through reserved day nursery places and the future university day nursery.