“AND” instead of “or” - parents in Germany want to combine family and career!

“We must improve the framework conditions so that people can follow their will to have children. This includes better organization of the compatibility of family and career. That means more help with child-rearing and guarantees of return to work."

- Paul Kirchhof, German constitutional and tax law expert, Federal Constitutional Judge

The majority of Germans have the impression that family and work cannot be reconciled so well. Parents in particular, who have their own experiences, describe the coexistence of these two worlds as rather difficult. At Scandio, we believe that this is not necessarily true. We have therefore decided to let a few of the parents at Scandio have their say in this Scandio Report.

From l.t.r.: Irmi, Mario and Frank (Unfortunately Joschi is missing)

Our interview partners are:

  • Frank (Software-Developer, Children: one infant and one baby on the way)
  • Irmi (Software-Consultant, Children: one schoolchild, one teenager)
  • Joschi (Software-Consultant, Children: one toddler)
  • Mario (Software-Consultant, Children: one schoolchild, one teenager)

Have you ever had to confront the question of whether to choose career OR family? If so, how did you decide?

  • No, so far I’ve been good at combining those two things. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • Yes, I first stayed at home, then got back in with a toddler and a place in a day nursery. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • Not really, so far it has worked quite well together. (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • Again and again, and again and again with BOTH! (Mario, Software-Consultant)
Can family and career be well combined?

Does a family, or being a parent, work in combination with the job?

  • Due to flexible working hours and the possibility of a home office, this works perfectly (of course also with the support of the mother). (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • Yes, even as a “single” parent with a partner abroad, as long as the employer respects that the children have priority - always! At Scandio, it has always been clear that you can also leave earlier if your child is ill, for example. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • Works well for me. (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • Yes, in the end it boils down to the fact that you have to plan your appointments properly and on time. (Mario, Software-Consultant)

As a result of being a mother or father, have you ever had any concerns about your future career at Scandio?

  • No, I consider Scandio a very social employer. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • As a woman, the decision to have children is ultimately a medium to long-term one. At Scandio, I have always been given the feeling that - if I wanted to - I could return back to full time. However, it is also accepted if you work part-time and leave certain tasks that would lead to conflicts with the family to others. I have never worried that I might lose my job because of my children. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • Not at all! (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • No, not really. Scandio has always supported me, from the CEOs to the various colleagues. (Mario, Software-Consultant)

Have you perhaps experienced such concerns personally or from friends in other companies? If so, what effect has this had?

  • Especially as a mother, it can be difficult to find your way back to your old job or the same tasks. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • I have often heard in my circle of acquaintances that the reduction of hours or the refusal to travel has led to problems and sometimes even to the loss of the job. In this respect, I can only report positive things from Scandio. Personally, I have always honestly formulated what is affordable for me in my situation and what is not. We then talked about it together and for many years always found a good solution for both sides. Since both CEOs have children of their own, there is a lot of competence and understanding. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • No, but maybe only because I was the first in our clique.  (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • When all parents have rigid working hours, it actually always becomes difficult. (Mario, Software-Consultant)
How much importance is attached to the family?

What are/were the possibilities regarding working time/parental leave at Scandio?

  • Parental leave is possible without problems after consultation with the team and the CEOs. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • Since the birth of my first daughter, I have been employed part-time - in the meantime, I am employed again with a little more hours, because the children are getting older. For a while I also worked only in the home office in Berlin - at a time when all employees were working at one location. Just make an offer with your own ideas, talk about it and find a reasonable solution. Sometimes you also overestimate yourself. Then you have to be honest and make changes, which applies to both sides, by the way. For me the home office with a baby was not an option, so I moved back to Munich to be able to go to the office on site. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • I was able to reduce the hours quite easily when I noticed that it was too stressful for me otherwise. And in combination with the home office option it is actually very uncomplicated and I have enough time for work and for my child. (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • This can be handled well by the self-organized teams. The problems are clarified where they occur, namely in the appropriate teams, naturally with the support of the CEOs. Both have enough experience with their own families. ;) (Mario, Software-Consultant)

Do you feel adequately secured and supported by the state? Does Scandio accommodate you?

  • For me the state benefits are acceptable. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • Definately, as far as flexibility is concerned. Otherwise the state regulations miss the reality. The parental allowance is not based on the family’s total income, so fathers usually have to continue working, otherwise the money is not enough. The day nurseries do not accept children until they are one year old, parental leave is already over, but the settling-in period, for example, is not planned. The flexibility of the employer is very helpful here. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • A little more support would certainly be helpful - especially with regard to childcare. You pay a lot of money for the child to be in kindergarten from 9.00 to 15.00. Theoretically, there is not much working time left. But Scandio can help by offering home office and reduced hours. Without these two factors (and also support from grandma & grandpa), everything would look much more problematic. (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • That is always quite individual. I think some concepts dependent on a goodwill of the employer. For example, the return from maternity and parental leave can lead to a significant deterioration of the position. Seen in this light, some employers do not consider themselves fit for children, and try to implement this accordingly. However, I have never experienced anything like this at Scandio. (Mario, Software-Consultant)
Child benefits
Child benefits in germany

What do you and/or your partner do if the child is ill?

  • Fortunately, we haven’t had this case yet, but it will amount to a mixture of home office and “child-is-sick days” - divided between both parents. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • I will let my team know and go home (or stay at home). The good thing about that is that it’s perfectly okay and doesn’t bring any insipid flavor. This is a very important reason for me to stay with Scandio. (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • Fortunately this is almost never the case - if it is, I can just stay at home. (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • Then one of us will stay home. This is regulated by the schedule, with whom it is easier to handle it. (Mario, Software-Consultant)

Do you have any special tips & tricks for colleagues (and applicants) who are considering becoming a parent themselves? How do you personally reconcile family and job?

  • Scandio is a great and relaxed employer, where “states of emergency” are understood and you can adjust your workload to your private circumstances at short notice in order not to be overburdened. A small tip: Sleep as much as possible. (Frank, Software-Developer)
  • Every situation is slightly different. Do I become a mother or father, how much and how flexible can the partner step in? Are there relatives or reliable friends who can help out. How do I define this role for myself. Where is my personal balance between family and career that I feel comfortable with? My experience at Scandio is like that: Think about what’s right for you in advance. Talk to the CEOs as early as possible about your and their ideas. Be open, honest and always ready to correct something if it doesn’t fit. Family is not a project that can be cancelled or planned in detail, but it is definitely worth living it!! (Irmi, Software-Consultant)
  • Try to divide the care as fairly as possible between the parents and, if necessary, talk to the employers, they have a sympathetic ear. (Joschi, Software-Consultant)
  • Just go for it! (Mario, Software-Consultant)

In general: It is important to note that the more family-friendly the culture of the company, the more mothers and fathers will dare to express their wishes and problems regarding compatibility. This includes a regular dialogue between management and employees about the situation of parents in the company, open communication about family-friendly offers and the willingness to create individual solutions!

Once again huge thanks to all participants! 😊