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Graduate School of Life Sciences

Family Support

The Children-PhD-interaction

The doctoral researchers of the GSLS are between 22 and 40 years of age and many become parents during their PhD project or have children when they start. However, there are many difficulties surrounding parenthood during a PhD project, ranging from working contracts and legal regulations to child care and its interference with your research. On this page, we have compiled overview information available from the Family Service of the University of Würzburg.

The information you find here is neither complete nor legal advice. We have compiled this overview only for your convenience as some sources are in German only.

Being a parent - child care and research:

According to German law, every child of preschool age is entitled to adequate child care in a day care facility or through a professional childminder, if their parents (or single parent mum/dad) are working or studying. As a consequence, every doctoral researcher can enroll in regular day care for a cost ranging between 90 and 240 Euro per month. Upon application and on a case by base basis, the city of Würzburg might reimburse for part or even all of the cost.

The university of Würzburg offers:

For emergencies, when you have need to bring your child to work, the Biocenter as well as the Rudolf-Virchow-Center offer the KidsBox. This mobile kids room includes many play options for children, a mobile bed for the very young kids, vision screen to provide privacy to breast feed or change diapers as well as disinfectants and a first aid kit. In short, the KidsBox makes it easier to have your kid with you at work. Please book the KidsBox in advance at your institute.

Financial aspects:

Every parent with their residency in Germany is entitled to child support from the federal government. You have to apply for this benefit at the Familienkasse Aschaffenburg.

Holder of a GSLS fellowship - as well as many other fellowships - also benefit from an increase in their fellowship salary depending on the number of children they have. In contrast, there is no corresponding salary premium for doctoral researchers employed through the university under TV-L.

Becoming a parent - pregnancy, maternity protection and parental leave during the PhD project:

If you are pregnant, you have to inform your employer as soon as possible. Though there is no legal deadline, you should still talk to your supervisor as soon as you know and you will have to provide a medical certificate stating the calculated date of birth. This is important for maternity protection. Pregnant women are restricted from heavy lifting, handling of many chemicals and most S2-class germs. Your supervisor is required to design your work place and load to be suitable for your pregnancy.

The six weeks prior to birth the maternity leave starts, exempting the becoming mother from any obligation to work, while the salary is payed in full. The becoming mother may choose to work if she feels able to do so.

The maternity leave continues for eight weeks after the birth. From the time of birth until the end of the eight week period, the mother is prohibited to work. This second part of the maternity leave is mandatory. The salary is still payed in full.

During the time between birth and the completion of the 14th month of age of the new born, a mother or father has the option to go on parental leave. During this time, you get 66% of your last net salary from the state. The minimum duration for parental leave is two months, the maximum duration is 12 month (mother and father cannot take more than 14 months combined). You should talk to your supervisor as soon as possible to plan for such a leave, with the legal deadline being seven weeks prior to the start of the leave.

Please also inform the GSLS of your pregnancy and/or parental leave, as during this time your study program pauses for obvious reasons.