After your children is before your parents

An ever increasing number of people are having to balance their work, study or research obligations with caregiving responsibilities.

Almost all will eventually have to look after and care for older family members. Children with disabilities as well as seriously ill partners also require permanent support and care.

These responsibilities demand a significant amount of time and effort on your part and, as a result, can put strain on your own body and psyche. The university supports its caregiving staff members with information and advice, presentations, continuing education opportunities and flexible working conditions.

Support from the university

The university offers its staff members flexible work models so they can balance their family responsibilities with their professional responsibilities. The flexible work models provide options in regard to work time and work location.

Events (in German)

“Advance directive, appointing a health care proxy” (26.07.2016)
Dr Heinrich Everke, general physician, and Rainer Mosbrugger, lawyer, explain various directives and ways to appoint proxies.

Dr Everke’s presentation (in German)

Mr Mosbrugger’s presentation (in German)

Advice and support

If you are a student, researcher or employee with relatives in need of care your first port of call is Inés Eckerle, in-house care coordinator.

Every two months, the university hosts consultations provided by Ms Nabholz from Caritas. Please make your appointment with her.

Teleworking - Working from home

Teleworking can help if you have extensive family responsibilities.
You can alternate between working from home and at the university. However, at least 50% of your work should be carried out on campus.

Please seek approval from your supervisor and submit both it and a written request to Human Resources. Specify the volume of teleworking you will be doing, how you plan to structure your teleworking days and what kinds of duties you will perform when working from home.

If you have questions, please contact the Equal Opportunity Representative.

Reducing one’s working hours

You can reduce your working hours to help balance your work with your family responsibilities. Typically, working hours are reduced for an initial period of two years, which can be extend on request. You can either choose to work fewer hours per day on five days of the week, or work full-time on some days of the week and take the rest off.

Please seek approval from your supervisor and submit both it and a written request to Human Resources.

If you have questions, please contact the Equal Opportunity Representative.

Annual working hours

At the University of Konstanz, you can work flexible working hours. Core working hours are Mondays to Thursdays from 9:00-15:30, and until 12:00 on Fridays.

If your supervisor agrees, you can take time off to compensate for overtime worked during particularly busy times. You can take the time off whenever suits you best, e.g. during the university closure around Christmas and New Year, during school holidays or to care for relatives. In principle, you can take up to 20 days per year off, with a maximum of five days per month. Please talk to your supervisor if you need more time off.

The overtime hours you worked during the current year do not expire until 31 January of the next year, which lets you compensate for overtime hours over Christmas and New Year.

Brochures and templates (in German)

Care services and legal matters

Financial matters - Leave

Short-term leave - Pflegeunterstützungsgeld (financial support for carers)
As an employee, you are entitled to take up to ten days’ worth of leave per relative in need of care, if you urgently need to organise professional care or if you need to care for the person in question yourself. During your leave, you are entitled to a compensation amounting to 90% of your salary after taxes, which will be paid by the nursing care insurance provider of the person being cared for. Please submit your request for compensation directly to the Pflegekasse (nursing care insurance provider) or the health insurance provider of the person in need of care. There, you will receive additional information about how to proceed.

Please inform your supervisor of the duration of your absence and submit a medical certificate issued by your relative’s physician to Human Resources. You can take ten days’ worth of leave per care emergency (i.e. you can take time off several times a year, not just once, as the need arises).

You are not entitled to short-term leave if you simply want to look after a relative or want to accompany them to the doctor's.

Interest-free loan
To safeguard their livelihood during a period of family caregiver or care leave, employees are entitled to an interest-free loan. Please submit your application for an interest-free loan directly to the Bundesamt für zivilgesellschaftliche Aufgaben (federal office for civil matters). The loan is paid out in monthly instalments and amounts to half of the salary after taxes that you are losing due to working fewer total hours. On request, you can take out a smaller loan - the minimum is 50 euros per month. The existing option of applying your accrued time credit (working hours) in order to increase your wages remains unaffected.

Pension claims
You can earn pension entitlements while caring for a relative. For the care period to count towards your pension entitlement, you must not work more than 30 hours per week. If you work part- or full-time and care for a relative at the same time, your work as an employee and as a carer both count towards your pension. Carers receive pension points. If you provide private home care to a family member for at least 14 hours per week, this will count towards your own pension insurance.

Care expenses
For tax purposes, care expenses are considered exceptional costs. Any expenses incurred for a place in a professional nursing home can be deducted from tax liability. This only applies if the person in need of care pays for his/her care themselves. If you have private nursing care insurance that pays a certain daily amount (Pflegetagegeldversicherung), you should check whether you are in fact spending any of your own money on your relative’s care.

Nursing care payments
If individuals in need of care who live at home are being cared for by their relatives, they are entitled to nursing care payments from their insurance provider. The caregiving relative may accept the entire amount gross for net, which means that it is not subject to taxation or social security obligations. The nursing care payments can help caregiving relatives compensate for lost earnings due to a temporary reduction in working hours.

Financial support obligation
The person in need of care must pay for all care-related costs him/herself. If his/her personal assets do not suffice, his/her spouse or children are called upon to cover the costs. If parents transferred their home to their child and if this happened less than 10 years ago, the property must be returned to the parents. It will then serve to cover any care-related expenses.

Family caregiver leave - Pflegezeitgesetz (law on family caregiver leave)

This short film created by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth offers a good overview of changes in the law that came into effect on 1 January 2015.

You can find everything you need to know about family caregiver leave, the Pflegezeitgesetz (law on family caregiver leave), who counts as a close relative and how to manage financially on the website of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

Home care and external support

Home care

Care videos can show you how to help your relatives sit or stand up, move them to another bed or turn them etc.

The Deutscher Pflegering has a list of facilities in your vicinity. Full-time care, daytime care, outpatient care etc. You can search by care priorities and proximity to your home town, which allows you to quickly find a suitable service. Individuals who care for relatives often require instruction and, above all, support. 2000 care instructors in 97 locations nationwide can help you cope with a family member’s illness and care requirements. They will also assist you in identifying local support networks and are available for consultations. Contact: Iren Steiner, phone: +49 7023 74 12 48 and on www.pflegebegleiter.de (in German).

The Altenhilfeberatung (services for the elderly) can help you find suitable stand-ins to care for your relatives on weekends or when you go on holiday. These can include host families or carers who take care of your relative in his/her own home. Basic services are typically provided by a professional home care service.

In and around Konstanz

The Malteser Hilfsdienst
in Konstanz offers visitation services and assistance with running errands. Trained citizens visit your relative in his/her home and take on some of your care responsibilities, for instance by spending time with relatives who suffer from dementia.
Please call +49 7531 8104-52 for further information.

Self-help group
The Malteser Hilfsdienst runs a self-help group for relatives with care responsibilities. They meet every second Wednesday in the month. If you require further information please phone us at +49 7531 8 10 40, or send an email to gabriele.grundwald@malteser.org

Daytime care in the Marienhaus
On weekdays, senior citizens can spend their days from 8:00-16:30 at the Marienhaus - every day or just once a week. A driver collects them in the morning and drives them back home in the afternoon. There are various support and entertainment services that all senior citizens attending the Marienhaus can benefit from. Marienhaus daytime care facility, phone +49 7531 9 08 43 50.

Shared accommodation for senior citizens
The Malteser Seniorenzentrum offers shared residential accommodation and care for senior citizens in Konstanz’s Fürstenbergstrasse (in the former Hotel Tweer). Residents have their own en-suite rooms, with the kitchen, living room and roof terrace shared by all. The Malteser guarantee that trained professionals working in three shifts are available on-site 24-hours a day to provide help with everyday issues. An external care service provides additional support if required. Please contact Ms Baumann at +49 7531 8 40 61 for further information about this service, or call +49 7531 81 04 22.

Advice
on psychological health
in the elderly is provided by Magdalena Welzel from the Patienten-Informations-Zentrum (patient information centre) of the Zentrum für Psychiatrie Reichenau (ZPR). Please call her at +49 7531 97 76 90 on Tuesdays from 15:30-17:00. Director of the ZPR’s geriatric and neuro-psychiatry unit: Dr Suzana Andrade.

Psychological online support for relatives with care responsibilities can be found on the pflegen-und-leben (caring and living) website. Plegen und leben is an internet portal for relatives with care responsibilities, but also for friends, acquaintances and neighbours who provide home care services for individuals who depend on care. Here, caregiving relatives with statutory health insurance can access personal support services and psychological assistance to help them cope with their everyday care duties - this service is completely anonymous, free of charge and secure as regards your data.

Domestic aid - Taking leave from caring

Domestic help
Being able to delegate everyday tasks can be a relief. A home helper can assist you with your domestic work while you care for a relative, or he/she can take take on the management of your relative’s household. Domestic helpers working in households that include a person in need of care can be hired privately.

Taking leave from care
Caregiving relatives are entitled to four weeks of holidays, with a suitable replacement taking on their caregiving responsibilities. They must have provided care for at least six months prior to taking their first holiday and must be receiving nursing care payments. In principle, there are two ways of taking leave from caring: by having relatives in need of care taken care of at home by a stand-in while the primary carer is away on holiday; or by having the person in need of care moved to a residential nursing home for the duration of the caregiver's holiday. In both cases, caregivers are entitled to 28 days worth of holidays per calendar year (Sozialgesetzbuch SGB (German Social Code) XI, paras 39 and 42). You can split this up into several short holidays . Please request support from the nursing care insurance provider. More ...

Literature

Please switch to the German version of this page for a list of books as well as a film documentary around the topics of caring for one’s parents, dying and ageing.