• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

1,401 Awesome


About liebling

Profile Information

  • Location Heidelberg
  • Nationality USA
  • Gender Female
  • Interests kids, research, sleep, food, current affairs and a bunch of other stuff I'm too tired to recall just now.

Recent Profile Visitors

6,887 profile views
  1. Elternzeit general questions

    IIRC, the months of Elternzeit start from the child's day of birth, which means that every month of Elternzeit begins on the day of the month your child was born (and not automatically on the first of the month or on any other date of your choosing). So if your child is born on April 25th, every and any month of Elternzeit for that child's parents would begin on the 25th of the respective month, i.e. April 25th, May 25th, June 25th. That means you can't start Elternzeit after (just) two weeks of vacation (e.g. on May 9th); you could only start it on April 25th or wait until May 25th.
  2. The Tiefburg primary school is holding a big outdoor fleamarket for children's things on Saturday, 21 April 2018 from 2-4pm on the school grounds at Friedenstrasse 14, 69121 Heidelberg-Handschuhsheim. There will be 35-40 different stalls/tables selling a wide variety of books, clothes, toys and other gear for babies, toddlers, and older children as well.  Coffee, cake, and fresh waffles will be served as well.  This is a fairweather fleamarket; it will be cancelled in case of rain.     The Heiligenbergschule (Berlinerstrasse 100, 69121 Heidelberg-Handschuhsheim - less than a 10-minute walk from the Tiefburgschule) is also having a children's fleamarket on the same day at the same time. Shoppers looking for great deals would do well to hit up both.  I know I will! 
  3. Rules for family sick leave in Germany

      Two things:  1) it's in the state's interest to promote increased birthrates - a strategy which seems to be working, btw, according to the latest official statistics. Are you sure the state "is happy to leave you on your own" if a family member is ill?  See "Pflegeunterstützungsgeld" below.   2) Lots of people do get paid for time they take off for "Familienpflege.  According to the Pflegezeitgesetz, Paragraph 2 Kurzzeitige Arbeitsverhinderung:  "Der Arbeitgeber ist zur Fortzahlung der Vergütung nur verpflichtet, soweit sich eine solche Verpflichtung aus anderen gesetzlichen Vorschriften oder auf Grund einer Vereinbarung ergibt."  Roughly translated: The employer is only required to pay an employee's salary if this has been set down in another law or on the basis of a (contractual) agreement.  Some of us have clauses in our contracts that specifically include this.    Furthermore, there's a Pflegeunterstützungsgeld fund from the Pflegeversicherung that pays family members up to 96.25 EUR per day for up to 10 days as salary replacement if they take an unpaid leave from their job to look after family members in need of short-term care. Google Pflegeunterstützungsgeld to find out how to apply.   GL!
  4. Protecting my work contract in Mutterschutz?

    The advantage is that you can't be fired/downsized/let go once they know you're pregnant. This protection does not extend to you if you are pregnant but your employer has not yet been informed of your pregnancy.
  5. Protecting my work contract in Mutterschutz?

      You don't have to ask for an extra responsibility to have someone give it to you - that's the nature of employment. The boss gives you a task and you have to do it.  The fact that they didn't inform you about how they handle the prep for maternity cover might mean all kinds of things: it could mean that they're clueless, or that they don't care how things affect you or that they feel betrayed by your going on leave  (not fair, but it happens) or that they come to this situation with baggage from another pregnant colleague who in the past screwed them over...  could be anything, and only some of those reasons arise from them being jerks (or men, or both).  Or maybe there's some sort of standard maternity cover process that your principal set into motion and which has nothing to do with your individual case and they just assumed you had read the handbook?  Sure, it would've been nice for him to give you a heads up -- but did you ask (about what would happen next from an organizational standpoint - who would be taking over for you, how your classes would be covered, whether/how you could return to those or others)? You say there are tensions in your school with people's contracts being ended, etc. - sounds like a less-than-healthy environment overall, so maybe their less-than-thoughtful treatment of you is part and parcel of that.     When you report a pregnancy to a Personalabteilung, they for sure have to keep information confidential.  I'm not at all sure that the same rules apply to other people in an organization (e.g. your principal), though. Did you tell him and other staff (amidst the donuts) that you explicitly did not want the students to know until you told them yourself?     As has been mentioned above, you are entitled to employment at the same pay level upon your return from maternity leave -- but you are not entitled to the same responsibilities, tasks, job title, courses or students.  But then those things aren't guaranteed to anyone else, either. Even people who don't go on maternity leave can find the rugs pulled out from under them by employers, being transferred to a different city (or country!), being suddenly put into a role for which they are over- or underqualified, having to work under a new boss whom they deem unsympathetic, incompetent or worse.  It can be disappointing and demoralizing, but them's the breaks.   Are you a union member?  The unions are often very helpful places to turn for advice in these kinds of situations. They've seen and heard it all and can advise you of your rights and of steps to take to defend them if you feel your principal or others in your workplace are running foul of the law (or even of recognized standards of good employment practice).  They might also make suggestions for how to negotiate (informally) the kinds of things you seem to prioritize (your teaching particular classes, for example) but which might not be a natural fit for the organizational and logistical needs of the school as institution.    In any case, good luck! 
  6. Consider attending the DAI's Story Time for Kids  on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month (during the school year) at 16:00.  There are usually lots of (by definition) English-speaking parents and young kids there, and a chance to chat with others about playgroup possibilities and to check the noticeboards at the DAI for announcements (or to post your own).  
  7. Need help due to surgery

    Sorry to hear about your injury.  Get well soon!   Have you looked at options like  Would Nachbarschaftshilfe be an option?
  8. Protecting my work contract in Mutterschutz?

    A couple of observations: Seems like you might be mixing up the pregnancy/postnatal employment related terms here. Mutterschutz and Elternzeit can/do overlap to some degree but they are not the same in terms of the law, who pays you how much for your lost wages, etc.  Mutterschutz is at most 14 weeks (a bit longer in case of twins or higher order multiples), some before the birth and some after. It comprises a Beschäftigungsverbot - a ban against pregnant women/new mothers doing work - and is a very old form of protection for the health and wellbeing of mother and baby. It's forbidden for employers to have you work in the weeks just after the birth even if you want to work;  IIRC it is possible to forego some of the pre-birth Mutterschutz in some industries/type of work but as a rule pregnant people are expected to stop working at that point.     So since you're talking about a return to employment, that is no longer Mutterschutz but rather Elternzeit (or - given the rough dates you've mentioned -  8 weeks of post-natal Mutterschutz, plus another 6-8  weeks of 100% Elternzeit would get you through to January, when you plan to return to work part-time (how many working hours is 7 teaching hours?).   Is your main concern about the type of courses (social science vs. English)?  Does your original contract actually mention the specific content of the courses you will teach, or is it just for x number of teaching hours?  If the former, you can point to it and say they shouldn't have asked you to do English in the first place and you want them to honor the contract.  If it's the latter they have you over a barrel and you probably don't have much choice.  In that case, hope they honor your wish as they said they would.   If your original permanent contract didn't mention the content of your teaching (social sciences versus English), I don't suppose you'll get a temporary contract out of them that does.    In any case, I think it depends who the "admins" are in this case - are they HR people (with experience in/knowledge of how to formalize Elternzeit arrangements - probably with a temp contract)? Or is it someone in your department who makes teaching-related staffing and/or workload decisions but doesn't know the nitty-gritty of the employer side of Elternzeit?  Or is it a paperwork filer who doesn't make any decisions or have any specialized knowledge of HR/Elternzeit but is just "making a note" of what you prefer - well meaning, perhaps, but without anything to back it up?      Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck in sorting everything out.
  9. Where to buy kids’ clothes in Hamburg

    Consider doing as most Germans do and buying secondhand clothes at the many many (many!) children's fleamarkets. There should be lots of them selling winter clothes in Sept/Oct/Nov. (There's usually a spring fleamarket season, too, but your May arrival will be too late for that, and in any case those mostly sell summer stuff.) They're a great opportunity not only to get high quality clothes and other items (toys, sports equipment, whatever) but also to gain insight into the German/local children's culture - what kind of clothes and other gear do people buy (and resell) for their own kids?  For example, you may not be used to the slipper-wearing culture here (at home, at Kita/Kindergarten/some schools, bringing slippers to wear when visiting friends' homes). Definitely get slippers. You'll also want rain pants/suits for all the kids, and galoshes as well, and a good rain cover for your stroller/buggy...   Fleamarkets - organized by daycare centers, parents' committees at kindergartens and schools - are also a great way to socialize, to ask for advice -- "I see you are selling gymnastic leotards. Where does your child do gymnastics? Would you recommend it?"  "You have a lot of slippers by brand XYZ - do they hold up well?" You can also get to peek inside the daycare center, kindergarten or school buildings if you go to a fleamarket they're hosting. Most of the folks selling stuff will have their kids enrolled there so you can also ask them what it's like there, for possible future reference.   I really recommend going to Kinderflohmärkte, even if you go for the social and anthropological aspects (and the waffels, coffee, and cake!) more than for the actual items being sold.  Outfitting kids is more expensive here than it is in the States, but if you get hooked into German/European brands that hold up well, you'll find that you can turn around and re-sell those items at a future fleamarket, having had good use of them and getting at least some of your money back in the process.
  10. Selling these well-loved books for pregnancy and parenting. 2 Euros a piece, take all 6 for a tenner. Available for inspection and/or collection in Heidelberg-Handschuhsheim.  (No shipping, sorry).  
  11. Rights for employed parent when partner is sick

    If your wife is gesetzlich Krankenversichert she will be entitled to a Haushaltshilfe to help her with the household (regular chores including shopping and other errands, preparing meals for her and your child, laundry, basic cleaning of your home, taking child to and from Kita or appointments, taking the child out to a playground, etc.).  In that case, contact the Krankenkasse, who will tell you exactly what your wife's doctor needs to write on exactly what form to get this approved.  I think the max is something like 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, but if you're actually at home on Saturdays, they're unlikely to pay for help on that date.  Sometimes doctors hesitate to sign the forms because they assume (incorrectly) that the bid will be rejected by the Kasse, but especially when there's a child in the household, there's a great chance that the Kasse steps up with funding.  I think the Barmer charged me something like 10 Euros per day Eigenbeitrag after the fact when I had a Haushaltshilfe, but it was well worth it.  There are licensed, bonded companies with trained HaushaltshelferInnen whom you can then engage to help out - that's what we did - we called an agency and they sent someone and the Kasse paid the agency directly.  If you have a neighbor or even a distant family member who would in theory be able to come and help out but not for free, I think the Kasse would also pay for them (though at a much lower hourly rate than they pay the agency-based HaulshaltshelferInnen).    The whole point of this system is to keep the household earner earning and to help the ill person get well again without having to deal with the strain of household and child care.  In the end it prevents (re)hospitalizations in a lot of cases.   Gute Besserung! 
  12. Teacher thinks my child should repeat grade 2.

      Nah - I really don't see it any kind of stigma attached to repeating a grade, and I'm not naive. I work in German schools and with a lot of teachers in and outside of schools, plus my own kids are in school (in classes with some repeaters). Parents/kids might be disappointed if repeating becomes necessary, but there's really no general stigma, no brandmarking as a failure (or, worse, a loser) in the way I know it from the US, for example. This is because the stakes at the end of primary school are so high.   I am sure of all people the folks on TT have a lot of sympathy for a non-German mother trying to navigate her child's path through an educational system that is foreign to her. So many of us are or have been in the same boat, hence our speaking from experience.  But the bottom line is that -- assuming the mother wants her child to succeed in this system -- she ought to understand the principles and criteria for success upon which the system is based.  Whether one likes or dislikes the German tripartite system of secondary schooling, it's important to go into it with eyes wide open and knowing how it works (and whom it works for, under what conditions).  If the mother knows *why* the teacher is making the recommendation to repeat (not only in terms of her child and this one school year, but bearing in mind his whole schooling career and future options), she can better understand the implications for the decision down the line *in this particular system*.  You mention that people from different cultures bring their own filters to understanding life in Germany.  That's true.  And often those filters get in the way of their succeeding in Germany (or of their children reaching their educational potential).  Nobody's saying she needs to forget her culture but the fact is that German schooling privileges German culture, and we non-native German-speakers living in Germany put our children at an academic (and social) disadvantage in German schools if we don't recognize that (and play along).      
  13. I'm not sure how it works in Germany but when I was hired as a non-EU person in the UK my employment contract had clear wording on it that said its terms would only be valid if and when I was granted permission by the employment and immigration authorities.  Without those permissions, the contract was considered void. Perhaps there's a similar clause in your contract, too?     
  14. Have you looked at any of the Familotels in the Black Forest?  There are several. You can use the childcare services if you want, but you don't have to, and either way the whole place is set up to be very family- and child-friendly.  
  15. Regarding the high demand for places at EI: I think it's the combination of the bilingual English/German offerings, the full-day schooling (good for working parents of kids in younger grades), and the G9. Many parents are worried about their children succeeding in the G8, esp. parents of kids who are have a less-than-strong Gymnasialempfehlung or who seem a little immature compared to their peers, or whatever, but I think a wide range of parents are certainly concerned about G8 pressures and their effects on children's and families' lives.  EI is a relatively expensive school which I think also gives (some) parents a sense that they are buying exclusivity and/or protecting their children from those they see as "the wrong type" of peers.  (I don't have children at EI but I have heard two sets of  EI parents give this type of argument in conversations about choice of Gymnasium.  Alas.)   I know people whose kids have left the EI Gymnasium for different reasons, but they seem to me to be the same reasons kids leave other Gymnasien, too - they felt bullied by other kids, bullied or otherwise unfairly treated by teachers, etc. I think if you're paying out of pocket for tuition you might be more of a demanding consumer of education than if you're benefiting from it as a public good, so that might be a reason for dissatisfaction, too.  But lacking first-hand experience at the school I really couldn't say.  I wonder how their Abi grades stack up compared to local public Gymnasien or other local private ones.