Laws & Co.
In 2016, the federal WissZeitVG was changed in a way that makes it nowadays necessary to explain for each contract extention or renewal how this will add a step for further qualification, and how this goal shall be accomplished within the timeframe set by the contract. In this behalf, University produced in new form in 2016 (differentiating phase1/PhD, phase two/Postdoc, or University-Lectorate). See papers on this topic:
- In this video from July 2019, judge S. Pschorr offers a one-hour introduction in labour-law for academic employees (in German).
- WissZeitVG in der Fassung vom 11.03.2016 (the law itself)
- Presseerklärung des BMBF vom 29.01.2016 (press notice of the BMBF, naming the cornerstones of the new WissZeitVG-novella from 2016)
- Handreichung der DFG zur Novelle des WissZeitVG vom 11.03.2016
- Helpful guide of the labor union for sciences and teaching GEW - Handout & FAQ:
- About the scientific disussion on the issue: Jongmanns, Georg (2011). Evaluation des Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetzes (WissZeitVG). Evaluation of the law, commissioned by the federal ministry for education and research. HIS: Forum Hochschule 4.
During the summer term 2016, KRAM initiated the 7th discussion circle for university lecturers, including an expert from the council of staff representatives, with information and discussion about the changes of the law and their impact on contracts for academic employees. KRAM stays alert in this respect, observing not without concern how the University interprets and realises this law.
The Bremische Hochschulgesetz (BremHG) is the lawful framework in which all academic employees work at the University of Bremen. In March 2019, the current higher education reform law was passed by the Parliament of Bremen. Here the link to the last BremHG novella.
KRAM organised the discussion circle of lecturers with the Minister of finances of the University at the 29th of June, directly after the law passed the Parliament of Bremen. Thus, we were able to discuss its significance for academic employees directly with the responsible parties.
KRAM spoke upfront with university management and senatorial representatives about options given by the law, aiming for higher autonomy of academic employees who are occupied for a long time already at the University. KRAM supports the development of real career paths for academic employees besides towards a professorship, not only with new tenure track options and beyond... for which a law must provide the framework. All parties involved are willing, but cost issues are a hurdle within the smallest state, Bremen. While until recently the title of Senior Researcher / Senior Lecturer was purely honourable and without financial consequence, the in 2018 newly developed tenure-track options will offer monetary incentives. KRAM considers this a step in the right direction – we need to develop and try new paths for academic personnel. Changes are okay and must be evaluated in order to find out what proves successful.
The "Rahmenkodex" (see below) introduces since its enactment Nov 2016 this realignment of the law novella in Bremen.
Additionally, KRAM formulates own ideas for novellas of the BremHG. On KRAMs own account, the resumption of a passage on collegial bodies (Kollegialorgane) is pursued, because this would automatically make all academic employees members of KAM (as it was until 1999). Since most academic employee are employed on a temporary basis (2-6 years), the fluctuation is immense – 95% come and go, KRAM is immensely strained by member acquisition routines. The collegial body would allow simpler proceedings in board elections, a huge relief for the voluntary members of KRAM. Until now, this aspect is disregarded but the next novella is in progress already...
As a commitment, Bremen leans on its "Rahmenkodex zu Vertragssituation & Rahmenbedingungen von Beschäftigungen an den staatlichen Bremischen Hochschulen".
In 2016, a working group around the Council of State Mr. R. Kück, by instruction of the Senator of the Sciences, negotiated this "Codex about the contract situation and framework conditions of employees in all institutions of higher education in the state of Bremen". Members of these group were, beside the council of state, representatives of the management from all institutions of higher education in Bremen, and representatives of all important interest groups (Ver.di, DGB, GEW, staff council representatives, KRAM, and the state equal opportunities spokesperson). At the 15th of Nov 2016, the codex was ceremoniously signed.
Even if the codex is not a law, it found its way into the BremHG novella 2017: its evaluation is codified. Also, the novella mirrors in many respects the spirit of the codex. In conclusion, the codex is a self obligation - how do university representatives live up to it? KRAM supports its spirit by observation, dun, suggestion and participation ever since.