Reconciliation of family and career
Professional challenges compete not infrequently with private family interests. The Max Planck Society offers extensive support to ensure that the two can be sensibly combined. In summary: We take account of the needs of our employees in our working culture. We operate a family-conscious personnel policy, as we want to be an attractive employer for highly qualified employees in an international environment – and to offer a seal of approval in the process. For example, the Max Planck Society, as a scientific organization with all its Institutes, is entitled to display the certification issued by the non-profit company berufundfamilie.
Operational measures which relieve the pressure of childcare on young scientists and non-scientific employees and facilitate their individual career planning, cannot replace the change of social mindset required; nevertheless, they make an important contribution towards equal opportunity – ensuring that the question of "children or career" does not become an either-or-decision, especially for women.
Well looked after at Mäxle, Hippos & Co.
Most Max Planck Institutes offer childcare places with cooperation partners on Institute sites or in the facilities of external nurseries. Many Max Planck Institutes also have parent-child offices in which employees can work in the presence of their child in an emergency. We endeavour to find childcare during large-scale Institute events, and we grant financial subsidies for childcare during external conferences.
When help is needed
You want to travel to a conference and need someone to look after your child? You need to know that your child is also being well looked after in the holidays? You need a caregiver on a permanent basis? We have a contract with a family service company which acts as an agent in providing persons to care for pre-school children and probably from winter 2016 also children of up to the age of 14 – regardless of whether they are babysitters, au pairs or short-term emergency helpers. Help is also offered in caring for the elderly.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation
Buying time with money
The Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation supports talented young female scientists with children who want to create latitude for their scientific activities. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard set up the foundation in 2004 with funds from her Nobel Prize; the Max Planck Society supports it with an annual grant of 30,000 euros.
“Money is the most banal means of buying time”, says the Max Planck Director. “It makes no sense not to have a cleaner, to wear oneself out doing household chores and to run a laboratory at the same time. One should have the courage to spend more money and thereby have more latitude.” Young doctoral students know that but they still try to manage the daily balancing act between career and family. When a decision is made to accept an invitation to a conference and measurement times in the laboratory once again fall at a bad time after the nursery has closed, the finely balanced system consisting of childcare, scientific work and housework, quickly collapses.
The intention is to provide help here with a monthly scholarship of up to 400 euros awarded by the foundation for a maximum of three years in the course of a doctorate. The condition is that living costs are covered and all-day childcare already guaranteed. Applications can be submitted twice a year – to 30 June and 31 December.
Dual Career Service
In order to recruit the best scientists to the respective facility, the other framework conditions also have to be right in addition to the scientific environment. For that reason, the Max Planck Society has long supported the welcoming culture at the Institutes by means of very specific measures. In order to provide the spouses and partners of scientists with suitable work in a new location, the Max Planck Society works closely with dual career partners in regional networks. In doing so and in providing additional non-material services, the MPG wishes to enhance its attractiveness in its competition for the best scientists by thereby making a contribution towards gender equality for men and women and better reconciliation of family life and work.
Family-friendly working hours
The Max Planck Institutes offer employees with family-responsibleopportunities to work part-time or to telecommute, also when they have to look after relatives in need of care.
Scholarship holders can obtain family allowances; female scientists with fixed-term employment contracts in accordance with the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act can take advantage of a contract extension if they become pregnant and give birth.