Here you will find a selection of the regulations in place at Freie Universität Berlin. Employees can find further information and amendments to regulations on the website of the Staff Council Dahlem, in the staff circulars (Personalblätter), circulars (Rundschreiben), and other publications of the university's central administration. Forms and information from the Personnel division that are available in English can be found here.
For some employment groups, different and/or additional regulations apply. Please refer to the following websites for further information:
Employees at Freie Universität Berlin who are represented by the Staff Council: Dahlem must observe the following regulations on working hours.
Freie Universität Berlin has a flexible working policy. Under this policy, all employees must observe certain core working hours – the regular working hours when you are expected to be in the office/working remotely – but may also begin and/or end their working day at any time during the flexible working hours specified below.
Core Working Hours Mon-Thu 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Fri 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Flexible Hours Mon-Fri 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m
For those employed in public service (Tarifbeschäftige), full-time, average regular weekly working hours are currently 39.40 hours excluding breaks. This works out to an average of 8 hours and 23 minutes a day, including breaks.
For civil servants (Beamte/Beamtinnen), an average weekly working time of 40 hours applies (average daily working hours including breaks = 8 hours 30 minutes).
Employees who are exempted from the usual working time regulations due to working a special schedule (shifts or alternating shifts) are subject to other regulations set out in the collective agreement. Shift plans and schedules are agreed in consultation with the local staff council.
Breaks are permitted according to German working time regulations as follows:
Daily working hours of up to 6 hours: none
6-9 hours: 30 minutes
More than 9 hours: 45 minutes
A different working hours agreement applies to employees based at the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum (BGBM). Details of the collective agreement and arrangements can be viewed on the website of the BGBM staff council, or can be obtained from the head of administration.
“Overtime” is defined as hours worked at the request of the organization that exceed your usual agreed regular working hours for the week. The regulations relating to overtime are governed by a variety of legal provisions, depending on your status (e.g., employee or civil servant) and/or budgetary requirements. Overtime must therefore be requested in writing by the relevant section of the personnel department.
The staff council responsible for the employee who is to work the overtime may make use of its right to veto or amend the request.
Supervisors who wish their staff to work paid overtime hours must apply to the personnel department well in advance, if possible, stating the number of overtime hours to be worked and the agreement of the staff member(s) concerned in writing.
- Flexitime sheet
- Agreement for BGBM
- Staff Circular Personalblatt Nr. 10/2004 (in German, access within Freie Universität network only)
- Staff Circular Personalblatt Nr. 02/2017 (in German, access within Freie Universität network only)
Every Freie Universität Berlin employee is entitled to annual paid vacation leave, calculated on the basis of the calendar year.
Regulations on paid vacation allowance, paid leave, and special/compassionate leave are governed by legislative requirements and the applicable collective agreements. Employees are only entitled to the full vacation allowance after they have been employed for six months.
Both civil servants and employees whose regular weekly hours are based on a five-day work week are entitled to 30 working days’ paid vacation leave a year. Working days are defined as all days of the year on which the employee is regularly required to work (even if they do not actually work on that day), with the exception of public holidays that fall on work days and for which employees are not entitled to time off in lieu. If your weekly working hours are worked across more or fewer than five days a week, your vacation entitlement will be increased or reduced accordingly.
Requesting Paid Leave
Paid leave requests from employees based in the departments, central institutes, central facilities, and other organizational units are approved by the employee’s supervisor and/or the head of the department/institute. Requests should be made in advance, and paid leave cannot be taken until the request has been approved. Where it is unclear whether a request has been approved or not, the personnel department will make the decision. Special leave requests should be addressed to the personnel department via the employee’s supervisor and the departmental administration.
*** Please note: The vacation leave for employees in public service (Tarifbeschäftigte) must be taken within the current calendar year. Otherwise it will expire if it's not taken by September 30 of the following year at the latest (Personalblatt 02/2019).
A “general closure” is a period of time in which the employer stipulates that leave must be taken by all staff, or all staff within a particular part of the organization.*** Please note: Freie Universität Berlin's decision to stipulate a general closure of the university, foreseen for five days at the end of December 2022 and the beginning of January 2023, has been repealed. The staff bulletin concerning general closures at Freie Universität Berlin for 2020/2021, 2021/2022, 2022/2023, and 2023/2024, published in Personalblatt 05/2019, has been rescinded. Please see here for more information on the changes to the general closure rule.
Taking Special Leave Instead of Receiving a Christmas Bonus
It is possible to request unpaid special leave lasting up to four weeks in exchange for a salary adjustment for the months of November and/or December. Requests can only be approved as long as your professional responsibilities do not stand in the way. The corresponding payments for the period of special leave shall initially be paid in advance, but the cost will be officially offset in November/December when you receive your annual end-of-year additional payment.
This special leave must be taken in full seven-day weeks. Both employees and civil servants are eligible to apply for this kind of leave. Teaching faculty are unfortunately not entitled to it. You can apply for the special leave described above by getting in touch with your personnel office and submitting a statement from your supervisor.
Further information is available in Freie Universität’s official bulletin FU-Mitteilungen no. 09/97 of November 21, 1997, last amended by FU-Mitteilungen no. 06/03 of June 2, 2003. You can also obtain more information from your departmental administration office, or the head of your office.
Your personnel department will be happy to help if you have questions or would like to know more about possible effects this leave might have on your social security insurance.
- Vacation request
- Detailed regulations on vacation for employees (Tarifbeschäftigte) in staff circular Personalblatt Nr. 03/2011 (in German, access within FU network only)
- Detailed regulations on vacation for civil servants in staff circular Personalblatt Nr. 03/2014 (in German, access within FU network only)
“Business travel” is defined as travel undertaken for work outside of the workplace which is carried out in order to fulfill tasks that form part of the staff member’s regular duties at Freie Universität Berlin. Independently of costs and whether these are to be reimbursed, business travel may only be approved or requested if it is necessary in the context of carrying out official activities in the interest of Freie Universität. When a business travel request cannot be approved because it is deemed unnecessary or because it serves some purpose other than carrying out activities in the interest of Freie Universität, it may be possible to grant special leave in some cases, as long as this does not violate any legal requirements and is in accordance with the various ordinances governing special leave at the university.
A staff member wishing to travel for business purposes must submit a business travel approval request form in good time before the trip is due to begin.
The form must be submitted whether or not the staff member wishes to be reimbursed for the costs of the trip. Without official approval of the request, the staff member is not insured for potential injuries incurred in the course of business and may not receive any occupational compensation for accident or injury. This means that staff members who undertake business travel without gaining prior permission are doing so at their own risk and may not be eligible for accident compensation, nor will they be eligible for reimbursement of their costs. Those tasked with approving a business travel request must act with strict regard for the basic principles of thrift and cost-effectiveness. They should consider whether the tasks to be carried out could be achieved in a different way, at a lower cost. Private trips, travel undertaken for vacation, and any travel undertaken in connection with other employment, job applications, or otherwise for entirely or mainly personal reasons, do not count as business travel in this context. Travel costs for business travel may only be reimbursed if the person traveling submits their application for reimbursement to the appropriate department within six months following the end of the trip. The six months are defined as beginning on the day after the staff member returns from the trip.
More information can be found in the Business Travel Guidelines.
The provisions of Article 99.6.1 Berlin Higher Education Act (Berliner Hochschulgesetz) stipulate that university teaching faculty may be exempt from their professional responsibilities for one semester and at appropriate intervals in order to carry out a research project or brush up on their knowledge by gaining relevant professional experience. The employee continues to receive their salary during the research sabbatical. This regulation does not apply to mid-level faculty positions (“Mittelbau”).
The dean of the department makes the final decision on whether to grant a sabbatical and factors in the applicable legal considerations. A sabbatical may only be granted if the employee has a replacement who can cover their teaching load, any exams they were meant to conduct can be undertaken by someone else, and they have health insurance that covers them during their time off.
Further requirements and conditions for sabbaticals can be found in Freie Universität’s administrative circular no. 01/93 of January 28, 1993 (Verwaltungsrundschreiben).
Find the form to apply for a research sabbatical here.
As an employee you are obliged to notify your primary employer if you wish to take on paid secondary employment. Furthermore, civil servants (Beamte/Beamtinnen) have a general obligation to have any secondary employment they wish to undertake pre-approved. In any case, your notification must be submitted before you begin work on secondary employment activities. If you are planning to take on secondary employment, please remember that it has to be authorized or endorsed by the personnel office before you begin. For that reason, you should factor in enough time for everything to go smoothly. University travel requests will not be approved if they involve conducting business for another employer. Please use the designated form to disclose your secondary employment.
Please submit your application to the personnel office via your work office (and the dean’s office if necessary) to have it endorsed and/or approved. Your secondary employment will not be approved if said activities could potentially have a negative impact on your primary employment. This obligation to notify your employer also applies if you wish to begin a degree program or further professional training. Please get in touch with the personnel office in this case.
- Contact personnel division
- Application form for secondary employment
- Information on secondary employment in the circular V 7/02 of January 3, 2002 (access within Freie Universität network, in German)
- Circular 06/2011 for employees (in German)
- Information for civil servants (in German)
If you are unable to work because of sickness or an injury, you must inform your office manager/head of office as soon as possible before core working hours begin. If the head of your office is not there, you must inform your supervisor.
If your sick leave lasts longer than three calendar days, including Sundays and public holidays, you must submit a doctor’s note to your office manager and/or supervisor no later than the day following the third day of sick leave. The note should state the period of time for which you will be unable to work. Doctor`s notes will be forwarded to the relevant section of the personnel department. You are also free to send the note directly to the personnel department if you do not want to submit it to your actual place of work. However, in this case you must still inform your place of work by phone as to the length of time you will be absent from work.
Every day of absence due to sickness or injury, including each day of consecutive periods of absence, must be covered by a doctor’s note. This still applies even if you are no longer entitled to receive statutory sick pay due to the length of your absence.
Please note: Members of the university, whether civil servants or employees, must always obtain the consent of the employer – here Freie Universität Berlin – in any case of absence from work for whatever reason. Where this consent cannot be obtained in advance, e.g., because of sickness, consent must be obtained as soon as possible, that is to say, without any intentional delay, and if necessary by telephone. If you are incapable of informing your employer yourself, you must ask someone to do it for you. Employees who remain absent from work without permission forfeit their right to continued pay and may be subject to disciplinary procedures or other consequences at work.
Sick Leave During Vacation
If you should fall ill during your vacation, you may be able to reclaim the vacation days on which you were sick, provided that you notify your work place on the first day of your illness and also submit a doctor’s note as soon as possible. You must obtain your supervisor’s approval for any extension of your vacation on the grounds of sickness.
Should you have children, if your child falls ill you may take up to 10 working days of sick leave for each child under 12 years old up to a maximum of 25 working days. Single parents can take up to 20 working days per child for childcare but no more than 50 days total per calendar year.
Caring for relatives
On the basis of the Home Care Leave Act (Pflegezeitgesetz) and the Family Care Leave Act (Familienpflegezeitgesetz), it is possible to take unpaid leave from work if you need to care for a close relative who is incapacitated. For more information, see the notes to the staff circular (Personalblatt 04/2015 of July 20, 2015).
Telecommuting and remote working can help employees to manage their personal and work responsibilities.
The telecommuting option is intended to provide an alternative to traditional flexitime, offering greater flexibility in terms of where and when staff work.
“Remote working” on the other hand is intended to cover short-term, one-off situations at work or at home. This option allows staff to work for a maximum of 21 days a year (of which max. 3 days a month) at home.
Temporary remote work policy ("home office") for the 2022/23 winter semester (October 1, 2022 - March 31, 2023):
Employees may, with the consent of their supervisor, work from home for up to 40 % of their workdays in a given month, provided that this is compatible with teaching activities in the winter semester 2022/23. Home office is possible on a full-day or half-day basis.
Find more information here and here (in German).
- ZEDAT's advice on working from home
- Agreement on telecommuting and remote working (in German, access within the Freie Universität network only)
- Supplementary agreement to the agreement on telecommuting and remote working for the winter semester 2022/23 (in German, access within the Freie Universität network only)
- Telecommuting request