Coronavirus: Schools and child care

Circular to all employees (except Faculty of Medicine)

Dear members of the University, 
Colleagues and staff,

As you will have gathered from the media, all schools and childcare facilities in the state of Baden-Württemberg will remain closed up to and including January 10, 2021. Whether these facilities will fully reopen on January 11 is currently unclear and will likely depend largely on the trend of new infection numbers.

As outlined in the December 2 circular, most employees currently have the option of working from home on a case-by-case basis or alternating telework based on existing service agreements. Wherever possible, permission to work from home will continue to be granted. Employees must apply for permission to their respective supervisors using the form provided and coordinate with their supervisor; the form must then be forwarded to Human Resources for documentation.

Employees responsible for caring for children or other family members continue to have various options available to them. They still have the option to work from home, to use up overtime, or to take vacation. The state government also provides the option of taking special leave. Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements who "must necessarily care for their children themselves and suffer a loss of earnings as a result have a statutory claim to compensation in accordance with Section 56 (1a) IfSG. This compensation currently amounts to 67% of the loss of earnings incurred, up to a maximum of €2,016 per month for a maximum of 6 weeks to date. Before the compensation claim may be asserted, overtime and vacation days from 2019 and earlier must be used up. No compensation is provided by law for the period in which schools or childcare facilities are closed anyway (regular school or daycare vacations)." This regulation does not apply to “Beamte” civil servants.

Employees who do not have overtime credits may also be granted special leave with continued payment of remuneration or, in cases of particular hardship, leave with continued payment of remuneration in individual cases. An example of this would be a single parent without care facilities for children or relatives in need of care.

Please understand that, in the case of such applications, paid leave is not given for days on which schools and daycare centers would be regularly closed, i.e. for the holidays. Employees who need to make use of this hardship provision should contact their Human Resources administrator. 

University management and the staff council will reevaluate the situation in early January and then decide whether to continue the described arrangements beyond the current lockdown through Jan. 10, 2021.

Even though the first at-risk groups will be vaccinated in the coming weeks, it is already foreseeable that the pandemic will have a major effect on our lives at least until mid-2021. So now more than ever, we need to be patient. The Coronavirus pandemic is sapping our strength. This is palpable in many conversations I have with people both inside and outside the University. Therefore, I hope that you can get some rest and recharge your batteries during the holidays that are now approaching. Let us all make a contribution to defeating the pandemic together in the coming year.

Please stay healthy!

Heartfelt greetings,

Professor Dr. Bernd Engler