Job and family: career break or not?

Not so long ago, work and family life, especially for women, were only compatible in individual cases. While the man went to work as the main breadwinner of the family, the woman took care of the household and the offspring at home. But despite starting a family, many women do not want to give up their careers. This development is supported by flexible working time models, company kindergartens and "fathers on parental leave" – ​​but reconciling work and family life is still not child’s play.

These companies support you.

Yes, taking parental leave today is much easier than it was 20 years ago. There are still differences in the corresponding offer of the companies. Here is an excerpt from employers who actively support compatibility and family and career:

Companies Offer for parents
Peek & Cloppenburg Crèche Individual working time models
BENTELER own Kita Employees on parental leave stay up-to-date with flexible working time models
ALBA Group Confidence working time home office 30 hour contracts
Storck Individual contracts for parents Flexible working time models
alliance Own daycare center Individual reduction in working hours
Burda Flexible working time models Own childcare facility certified by "Family and work"
PwC Holiday care International exchange program for children from 14-19. Own daycare

Here you will find further offers from many companies, tips for applications and vacancies.

profession salary prospects application Tips Jobs
IT & Development To the info To the tips To the jobs
engineering & technology To the info To the tips To the jobs
management & consultation To the info To the tips To the jobs
distribution To the info To the tips To the jobs
Business, communication & digitalization To the info To the tips To the jobs
Financial- & insurance industry To the info To the tips To the jobs
human Resource To the info To the tips To the jobs
Logistics, traffic & transport To the info To the tips To the jobs
natural sciences To the info To the tips To the jobs
Design, creation & media To the info To the tips To the jobs
health To the info To the tips To the jobs
law & legal To the info To the tips To the jobs
administration & assistance To the info To the tips To the jobs
education & Social To the info To the tips To the jobs

"Risk factor" child.

Many companies are conscious of being family-friendly on the outside. However, if working mothers or fathers miss childcare more often in their everyday work, the understanding of employers can quickly reach its limits.

According to a study by Management Circle AG, women are consciously disadvantaged compared to their male colleagues when they undergo further training. For example, twelve percent of women have to pay for seminar costs for continuing vocational training themselves, whereas around eight percent of men pay for the training out of their own pockets. In addition, male workers receive grants for seminar costs twice as often.

One reason for the different treatment is, among other things, the assumption of some employers that women of a certain age group will take a break from work at some point in favor of family planning. In fact, 70 percent of East German and 57 percent of West German women take “parental leave” directly after maternity leave and only then return to work. However, family planning should not play a decisive role in company support.

Career instead of family happiness.

Although employment figures are moving closer and closer, on average more women work part-time than men. Working mothers in particular consciously opt for alternative working time models or switch to so-called mini-jobs. Employers favor this development indirectly, because only a few make it easier for young mothers to return to work after a baby break through targeted training offers or further training. For this reason, academics in particular postpone family planning until they have secured their professional position.

The trend is more and more towards late child blessing and sometimes even ends – whether intentionally or not – in childlessness. Given the demographic change and the accompanying aging and shrinking society, the low birth rates and childlessness of many employees are a major socio-political problem.

Between changing table and business lunch.

Many couples feel torn between their work and family. A part-time job can hardly be reconciled with the requirements of a management position, whereas a full-time job, however, largely limits family life to the weekend. The majority of women therefore consciously choose to concentrate fully on being a mother or at least spend more time with the child in a half-day job. Tip: Aspiring parents should calculate in advance to what extent an average monthly income is sufficient for the new family. However, both partners often have to earn something for the family fund.

However, with enough organization and structure in everyday life – and especially good childcare – work and family can be reconciled. Here too, the financial situation of the parents plays a crucial role. Anyone who can afford the costs of a childminder is free to make a quick return to work – even if the offspring are still small. In contrast, parents need more patience for a crèche or kindergarten place due to long waiting lists and sometimes have to accept longer journeys.

Childcare and family-friendly businesses.

According to the “Company Monitor 2010”, four out of ten companies have a family-friendly attitude. Family-friendly companies are still rare in Germany, but some employers support their employees in balancing work and family. Working parents can use flexible working hours, use company kindergartens or take advantage of subsidies for childcare. The so-called “home office” also offers working parents the opportunity to work from home using the Internet and telephone. While important appointments and meetings continue to take place in the office, parents can otherwise work flexibly from the "office in the living room" shape.

Such a family-friendly company policy not only benefits the parents, but also the economic success of a company. According to a study, family-conscious companies are more successful than the rest. This added value can be attributed to higher employee productivity. Companies not only have a higher level of commitment, but also less absenteeism.

"Parental leave": Dad takes a break at home.

Work and family are by no means a smooth combination, but politicians want working couples to be able to make parenting palatable with state subsidies. Newly baked parents can exchange their work for the changing table as part of the so-called "parental leave" and receive state subsidies in the form of the "parental allowance" from 300 to 1,800 euros per month. Parents can apply for this state family allowance at the youth welfare office’s parental benefit office, the amount being based on the average income of the caring parent.

Similar to maternity protection, there is absolute protection against dismissal during parental leave. In addition, both mothers and fathers can take unpaid leave from work until the child is 3 years old, so that they can fully concentrate on their offspring. Tip: Even during parental leave, employees should keep in touch with the company. It is also easier to re-enter through targeted further training or a part-time job later. During parental leave, employees are allowed to work up to 30 hours a week, thereby reducing financial bottlenecks that result from loss of income.

In the meantime, more fathers are also deciding to take a break from work for their offspring and keep working mothers free. After all, every fourth father took parental leave in 2009 – four percent more than in the previous year. But that the father stays with the child and mom makes a living is an exception. In 62 Percent of Families, women take care of children and household, statistically childcare is still a “woman’s job”.


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Christina Cherry
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