Cabinet: Reform for better working conditions in science

Cabinet: Reform for better working conditions in science

Young scientists spend years moving from short-term contract to short-term contract. A reform is now intended to improve working conditions. Critics doubt that this will work.

Young scientists should be better protected from short-term contracts and new fixed-term contracts. The Federal Cabinet has initiated a reform of the so-called Science Temporary Contract Act, as the responsible Federal Ministry of Research announced.

Since 2007, it has regulated the issue of fixed-term employment contracts for scientific and artistic employees who are not university teachers at state universities and research institutions. The reform provides for the introduction of minimum contract periods for the qualification phase before and after the doctorate. In addition, doctoral holders will in future be allowed to be employed on a fixed-term basis for a maximum of four years. So far there have been six.

According to the Federal Research Ministry, the proportion of short-term contracts in science is still high. At least one in three fixed-term contracts at universities and one in four at non-university research institutions only have a term of less than one year. According to the information, in 2022, 178,000 of a total of 227,000 full-time scientific and artistic employees were employed on a temporary basis at state universities.

The traffic light plans are partly supported by works councils, unions and student representatives, but are also sharply criticized. They doubt that this will make any noticeable difference for young scientists. One of the criticisms is that the law still hardly allows for different collective agreements, i.e. better working conditions, to be negotiated for the affected employees.

Source: Stern

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