“We don’t get paid for overtime!”

“We don’t get paid for overtime!”

Interview with a research assistant (anonymous)

What is your job?

I work at the FU as a research assistant with the aim of completing a doctorate. I carry out experiments in the lab. At the same time, I teach students, take part in conferences, write scientific articles and take care of things that arise in the lab.

How are you paid?

I am very lucky to have one of the few positions that is paid at E 13 with a working time of 65%. Many doctoral students have a part-time employment contract with only 50% working time. This means that I would actually only have to work around 25 hours a week. Most start with a 3-year contract. Whether the contract will be extended always depends on whether there is still project money available and whether the project is still worthwhile from the supervisor’s point of view. Many extensions are then only for 3-6 months. It hangs over you like the sword of Damocles and you are in a constant state of dependency.

Do you manage to complete your work in the 25 hours?

Although we are only employed part-time, many research assistants, including myself, work 40-50 hours a week. We don’t get paid for this overtime. It is often said that the 65% of working hours, i.e. 25 hours a week, are for work and that the rest of the time is spent working on your doctoral thesis. In most cases, however, the doctoral thesis and the work are the same thing. It’s usually impossible to manage all of this in the allotted time, especially if something doesn’t work right away. I’m actually employed part-time, but I’ve been working full-time for the last 3 years, as well as working nights and weekends. All unpaid, of course.

How does this work in practice? The working hours are normally documented in the flexitime schedule.

When I was hired, I wasn’t told that a flexitime schedule existed or that I should note down my hours. I only learnt from an information email from the FU that there is a new flexitime schedule for the new year. Even though there are flexitime spreadsheets, it seems to me that we aren’t supposed to use them and even if we did, we would probably have to write down the wrong times.

What do you think is needed to improve the situation?

I contacted the ver.di works group, which made this interview possible. I think creating transparency is an important first step. The recent ruling of the European Court of Justice on recording working hours means that working hours should be fully documented. This is certainly not the case with us. I would like staff councils to keep up their good work on this issue.

Information on the new election of the Dahlem staff council

The elections will take place from April 23rd. until May 10, 2024.

Overview of our candidates

Voting locations with choice

Postal voting information (Deadline 22.04.2024)