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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Family Support Centre

Career and Caring for Relatives

When you suddenly have to take care of a relative, your personal circumstances change in ways that are often difficult to cope with: on the one hand, there is the physical and emotional burden and the need to learn caretaking skills; on the other, there is the affect it has on your own life and plans. Balancing family responsibilities with your career is both an organisational and emotional challenge, and legislators and Humboldt University respond to this challenge by offering flexible working conditions.

For employees who need to care for a relative, there are various provisions. According to current legislation, these provisions exist for the short-term or long-term care of “close relatives”. This term not only encompasses grandparents and parents, parents-in-law, spouses or partners in a marriage-like relationship, but also step-parents, brothers- and sisters-in-law as well as partners in civil partnership-like relationships. Siblings, children, adoptive or foster children of a spouse or partner, as well as sons- or daughters-in-law and grandchildren are also considered close relatives. Aside from the care of a close relative in a domestic environment, the care of a minor outside of the home is also included. This also applies to the care of close relatives in their final stage of life.

Temporary disability for up to 10 work days

Leave of up to 10 days can be taken in order to make arrangements for a relative’s urgent care situation. The nursing care insurance (Pflegeversicherung) of the relative in need pays a so-called family care benefit (Pflegeunterstützungsgeld), a wage replacement benefit, to the carer.

Nursing and family care hours

If you take full or partial leave for anywhere from six to 24 months, you can apply for an interest-free loan from the Federal Office for Family and Civil Society Tasks (BAFzA) as a wage substitute. The Care Leave Act (Pflegezeitgesetz) and the Family Care Leave Act (Familienpflegezeitgesetz) lay out the conditions under which a person is legally entitled to take leave from work. For more information on this topic, please see the personnel division's website (German only).

Making care arrangements

If you have concrete questions about making care arrangements, you can turn to Berlin’s so-called Pflegestützpunkte. These caregiving support offices, with locations throughout the city, offer free, impartial counselling. On request, the counselling can also be performed anonymously and in your own home. All the caregiving support offices have walk-in hours on Tuesdays from 9.00 to 15.00 and Thursdays from 12.00 to 18.00. There you will receive information and support on all areas of caregiving and its financing.

Moreover, the care hotline of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs offers rapid assistance and information for relatives. The hotline is open from Monday to Thursday between 9.00 and 18.00; the number is +49 (0) 30 201 791 31.


The Family Support Centre offers counselling and support on the topic of care, especially with regard to figuring out where and when you can work, taking special leave (Sonderurlaub) and the options of HU’s work agreements on flexitime and partial home office. You can also find more information on the HU’s policies on the “Work Organisation and Flexible Working Arrangements” page.

The Emergency Care Guide (PDF [German only]) offers a comprehensive overview on caregiving and what to do when preparing to care for a relative.