A staff policy which looks after the right balance of work and private life creates a positive image: This displays an advantage outwards and has a beneficial effect on recruitment, while strengthening the employees’ well-being inwards.
Which are the most important requirements for obtaining the certificate?
Gabriele Rinschede-Kirsch and Urte Kummerow
Gabriele Rinschede-Kirsch: „For a family-friendly employer, the most important element is the arrangement of flexible working hours. We eliminated the idea of a core working time, introducing true flexible working hours. This was revolutionary in the mid-1990s. Concerning our agreement between the works council and the management, I always note compliments and amazement at the meetings of the Helmholz Association’s heads of personnel.“
Urte Kummerow adds: „There have always been good solutions for part-time working hours for employees. Today we have about 100 different part-time working variants in our Centre: There is nearly nothing which does not exist. It is quite uncomplicated. The kindergarden had been planned and had almost been built before the Audit took place. We have had an agreement with pme Familienservice since 2000. Pme is still engaged with us and takes care of the kindergarden.“
What has changed in our Centre after having gained the certificate?
Urte Kummerow: “More precisely, at this moment we are working on a concept for the company’s health management. Generally it may be said that executives are more aware of the employees having other things to do than only their work. Nowadays it is matter of course that business meetings are not held at 6 pm, so that mothers and fathers are able to exercise their family duties, and part-time workers also can participate.“
Gabriele Rinschede-Kirsch: „If we want to give women the opportunity of taking over a leading position, it must also be made compatible with suitable child care. Our family friendly proposals are a factor in successfully attracting well-qualified applicants. They, in the meantime, have set completely different priorities: It is not always the money that counts.
Do you see any more changes?
Gabriele Rinschede-Kirsch: „This is a change across the whole of society, which was achieved by politics too. For example, the parental allowance has strongly boosted the employment of higher-educated mothers. Naturally you notice that in a science centre immediately. In the HZG the mothers return after one year. In the past they mostly stayed at home for three years. Moreover, now it is much more accepted that fathers take their family seriously and make use of parental time allowance. Here many of them do that, often longer than the two months on offer.
Which challenges relating to the work-life balance does our Centre have to meet?
Urte Kummerow: „Previously, family-friendly policies were simply perceived as offering arrangements for child care, but today that is not only what it is about. The re-audit has given us the assignment to enlarge the possibilities of home office, for example when relatives have to be taken care of.“
Gabriele Rinschede-Kirsch: „We are obliged to verify the effectiveness, sustainability and development of our measures. Our most important target agreement is now to find a solution for working time agreements which are geared to the different phases of life.“
Thank you very much.
Flexible working time
Pme Familienservice GmbH
The offers range from relaying individual solutions for child care also in the holidays or for relatives in need of care to counselling in case of burnout, traumas, problems in the relationship, up to matters concerning the day nursery Einsteinchen.
The certificate – Audit berufundfamilie
Information on the sabbatical
Working full time and receiving only half the salary, therefore receiving the other half of the salary during the agreed release from work for a certain time. Or gathering overtime and so retiring earlier. Or just simply getting a release from work while receiving a guaranteed workplace afterwards. There are lots of options for a sabbatical. Our collective agreement allows employees to take a sabbatical. But the implementation and arrangement has to be fixed exactly, to specifications as required by the Audit. The following questions must be settled, for example: What happens if a colleague falls ill for a long time during his sabbatical? What happens then to the accrued liabilities?