Excellent offers to support family and work life

02/22/19 - Fraunhofer IAF is awarded the FamilyLogo of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Work life balance stands for a balanced relationship between professional and private life. The aim is to reconcile private interests with the demands of the workplace and to achieve a healthy balance between the two. Various offerings at Fraunhofer IAF are designed to enable employees to flexibly shape their professional lives. These efforts have now been rewarded with an award from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: the Fraunhofer FamilyLogo. It rewards outstanding conditions to help employees reconcile work and private life at the institute and is valid for two years starting January 1, 2019. In an interview, the equal rights officers Vera Klinger and Sabine Metzen talk about the offers of Fraunhofer IAF.


For which specific offers was Fraunhofer IAF awarded with the FamilyLogo?

Metzen: Flexible work opportunities and a wide range of support activities for childcare and parental leave were particularly positively evaluated. In many areas, for example, home offices can be set up at short notice on an hourly basis if a child needs intensive long-term care. We also have a co-child office to bridge the gap in the event that regular childcare is not available. In addition, we work together with the Freiburg-based daycare center »Junikäfer," which allows us to offer places for children from three months of age until they start school, with very long opening hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and hardly any closing days. Our employees are very happy to take advantage of all our opportunities. We receive very positive feedback.

Klinger: Right from the start at IAF, at the so-called Info Day, all new employees are informed about the possibilities at IAF. We also regularly inform our colleagues via the intranet about information events from external providers, e.g. via the »Freiburg Network of Family-Conscious Companies«. We are in a constant exchange to hear what families need to reconcile work and private life. We also talk to the group leaders, heads of the departments and business units to sensitize them to these issues, which are becoming increasingly important.


How does IAF address the topic of career and family?

Metzen: Many colleagues have families of their own and we regard the issues as absolutely compatible. We are happy to stay in touch during parental leave, invite you to team events and, if you are interested, you can also attend training courses during parental leave.

Klinger: By the way, more and more men are taking parental leave at the institute, so that there is really a great understanding for young families. The return to part-time work is not unusual, even for male colleagues, which is why we also offer the opportunity to take over leadership on a part-time basis.

© Fraunhofer IAF
Vera Klinger (l.) and Sabine Metzen (r.) are proud of the services Fraunhofer IAF offers, which contribute to reconciling work and family life.

What does the FamilyLogo mean to you as equal rights officers of Fraunhofer IAF?

Metzen: When I came to IAF 20 years ago, there were hardly any offers of support for reconciling work and family life. I myself had two small children and had to manage the balancing act between career and family, which was often very difficult. Since 2008 I have been the elected equal rights officer at the institute and have therefore had the opportunity over many years to take up and accompany these topics - often, of course, in cooperation with the central equal rights officer of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Bärbel Thielicke, and the headquarters in Munich. An important topic for me, among all the other topics, has always been to convince decision-makers and managers of the importance of a co-child office. By the end of 2014, the time had come, also thanks to the support of the »Diversity« program of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. When I now hear from colleagues that they can better maintain the balance between family and career thanks to our diverse offerings, I am proud of the positive effects that past efforts have had.

Klinger: I am noticing more and more that applicants nowadays attach importance to a workplace where they can achieve a work life balance. From this point of view, it is an award for us that hopefully also convinces interested parties that this is possible with us. Through the evaluation of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, we have also recognized opportunities for further improvement in the coming years.


What exactly are these chances?

Klinger: When it comes to leadership, we would like to promote tandem leadership and continue to expand part-time leadership. And we would like to encourage even more fathers to take parental leave, for example by joining a network of fathers.

Metzen: It would be great if we could work together with the other Fraunhofer institutes in Freiburg to create offers for holiday care. As soon as the children arrive at school, it becomes difficult for many parents to cover the entire holiday period of their children with their annual vacation. I think it is very important to further expand the possibilities of working in the home office on an hourly basis, especially with regard to the topic of work and care. Being able to provide even more support in various areas and life situations would be a real gain for our colleagues.



Vera Klinger and Sabine Metzen share the office of equal rights officers at Fraunhofer IAF. Vera Klinger is group leader for process control and has a four-year-old son. Sabine Metzen is an assistant in the Epitaxy and Optoelectronics Departments as well as in the Photodetectors and Semiconductor Lasers Business Units and has two grown-up children.

What Fraunhofer IAF offers: