Perspectives for scientific research and teaching in the Corona Crisis

Information on science related corona issues

In the past weeks and months, the UKE has been in crisis mode. The protection of employees and patients from SARS-CoV‑2 has had (and continues to have) the highest priority. As representatives of the Bündnis Wissenschaft, our main focus during this time was the work in the Scientific Staff Council (WPR). The WPR is in discussion or co-determination with the UKE department on a number of measures to protect employees from infection with SARS-CoV‑2. Important topics include the risks posed by the pandemic in everyday laboratory work (e.g. risk assessment in accordance with occupational and biological safety) and occupational safety standards in connection with SARS-CoV‑2 (e.g. distance requirements, face covering, contact avoidance). In addition, agreements on home office (alternating teleworking and mobile working) and on digital teaching (WebEx video conference technology system) were concluded with the UKE department at short notice.

We would like to take advantage of the current easing of the pandemic situation to inform about developments that are important for scientists.

German Parliament Bundestag increases maximum time limit for scientific qualification

Due to laboratory closures caused by the pandemic, there are severe delays in the preparation of some experimental doctoral and habilitation theses. To compensate for this, the Bundestag has extended the maximum period of employment under the WissZeitVG for scientific personnel in the qualification phase by six months with retroactive effect from 1 March 2020. This regulation applies to all employment contracts in accordance with §2 Abs.1 WissZeitVG that exist between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research may decide on an extension for a further six months if this should become necessary due to further pandemic development. There is no legal entitlement to an extension of the employment contract by the employer.

Medical Faculty supports research projects delayed by corona pandemic

The Dean’s Office provides additional funding to continue to employ doctoral students financed by third-party funds and temporary postdocs for an appropriate period of time. Prerequisites are that the employment otherwise expires, the project was delayed by the pandemic, the third-party funding provider does not offer an adjustment of the funding period due to the pandemic and there is no other possibility for follow-up funding. The application is to be submitted to the Vice Dean’s Office for Research (Dr. Klempahn, k.klempahn@uke.de) by the project management and is possible until 30 June 2020.

German Parliament Bundestag extends compensation claim for parents

Due to the closure of kindergartens and schools caused by the pandemic, many parents are facing acute care problems and are no longer able to work to the same extent as before. For this reason, the Bundestag decided on 27 March 2020 to include a compensation claim for pandemic-related day-care centre and school closures in the Infection Protection Act. For a maximum period of 6 weeks, entitled persons will receive 67 percent of their net income or a maximum of 2,016 euros per month. By resolution of 27 May 2020, the Bundestag extended the maximum duration to 10 weeks. This period applies expressly to each parent, so that two parents can apply for a total of 20 weeks. Single parents can apply for compensation for up to 20 weeks. This is subject to the condition that the parents have no other reasonable possibility of care (e.g. emergency day-care centre) or other means of bridging the gap (e.g. overtime compensation). The compensation is paid out by the employer, who can submit an application for reimbursement to the competent authority.

For further questions, suggestions, emerging issues related to the funding of your position, your project, and else, please contact us here: corona@buendnis-wissenschaft.de

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