How can I increase my (part-time) working hours?

Part-time employment is an indispensable component of modern working time arrangements, because it can facilitate the reconciliation of family obligations and work. However, periods of raising a family are temporary, and at some point employees will need to return to full-time work, to ensure their future retirement. The Act on part-time and temporary work (Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetz - TzBfG) stipulates that part-time employees should be enabled to increase their working hours and how to do so:

Part-time employees are entitled to an extension of their working hours by law, but they must inform their employer of their wish to extend their working hours. When filling a suitable vacancy, part-time employees are to be given preferential treatment over internal and external applicants (§ 9 TzBfG). Part-time employees should therefore be notified by human resources (§ 7 (2) TzBfG). The aim is to improve the ability to extend working hours as desired. An employee's request can only be denied if “urgent operational reasons” stand in the way. In addition, a suitable workplace with the desired working hours must be available.

In practice this means:

  1. Part-time employees submit a request to human resources to increase their working hours and inform the staff council of their request.
  2. Human resources informs those interested about vacant positions. Nonetheless, part-time employees should also actively search for suitable job offers at the university.
  3. Not the person who first learns about a vacant or soon-to-be vacant suitable position gets it, but the person who has requested an increase in the working hours with their employer, i.e., human resources, and can succeed amongst all others who have requested an increase in working hours.
  4. Employees who were previously employed on a job suitable for an increase as a substitute are naturally at an advantage in the selection process but compete with colleagues who have already requested an increase before them and may be equally qualified.
  5. Part-time employees with limited working hours do not have better chances of securing a job than employees with comparatively extensive working hours and are thus not entitled to a waived job advertisement. An internal or external job advertisement precedes the staffing decision.
  6. The staff council is involved in the personnel measure.

Here is a sample of what a request to increase working hours could look like in order to get on the “waiting list”:

To the
Human Resources Department at the University of Tübingen

Extension of working hours

Dear Sir or Madam,
I hereby inform you of my desire to extend my working hours in accordance with § 9 TzBfG. If possible, I would like to increase my contractual working hours to xx percent.
In accordance with § 7 (2) of the TzBfG, I would like to be notified of suitable job opportunities by human resources.

Kind regards,

Updated: 06/2020