Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Family Support Centre

Work Organisation and Flexible Working Arrangements

Humboldt University gives its employees a lot amount of flexibility in terms of where and when they work. In particular cases, senior staff are urged to find flexible solutions in order to facilitate their employees’ work-life balance, such as the work agreements listed below.


The Flexitime Work Agreement (Dienstvereinbarung Gleitende Arbeitszeit) reinforces the autonomy of employees at the workplace. While there are certain core working hours that cannot be altered – Monday through Thursday from 9.00 to 15.00, and Fridays, workdays preceding public bank holidays, and on 24 and 31 December from 9.00 to 13.00 – beyond those hours, employees can decide for themselves what time to begin and end their work day, as long as it is at some point from Monday to Friday between 6.00 and 19.30. Where necessary, part-time employees and their place of employment may make special arrangements regarding the core working hours.

This work agreement applies to the non-academic staff of the HU university area. Academic staff can also work flexitime by submitting a written statement to their department chair.  

According to section 10 of the special provisions, employees have the option of making separate working hour arrangements for family reasons.


Partial home office

HU employees covered by collective agreements may request to perform some of their work from home over a longer period. This arrangement is meant to make it easier for them to balance their professional obligations with their family or personal life. The Partial Home Office Work Agreement (Dienstvereinbarung über die Alternierende Teilearbeit) and the corresponding paperwork can be viewed and downloaded on the website of the HU’s Personnel Division German only).


Special leave instead of a Christmas bonus

Humboldt University offers its employees the option of taking unpaid special leave of up to four weeks over the course of a calendar year rather than receiving the full November or December earnings.

Special leave must always be taken for whole weeks (i.e. seven days) at a time, although it does not have to be a calendar week (Monday through Sunday). Unlike holiday leave, unused special leave cannot be carried over from one calendar year to the next.

Special leave may only be granted if there are no official or work-related reasons preventing it. If compatible with the interests of the job, special leave can also be taken piecemeal. Approval must be granted by the employee’s department chair on the application form. 

The application form should be sent to the Personnel Division by the relevant faculty/division head.


Reduced working hours

In general, it is possible for staff to reduce their number of working hours. The Personnel Division requires applicants to demonstrate that they are taking care of children under 18 or needy family members.

The request for reduced working hours must be submitted in writing at the Personnel Division (there is no application form) and should contain an opinion from the applicant’s direct superior and head of administration.