I am working as a researcher and applying for a position at a German public university. Due to personal reasons, I would like to work 48 hours per week, with 70% at one university and 50% at another university. The topic of work is similar in both workplaces. But practically, it's hard to get part-time positions. If someone manages to do it, then how is it possible?

Also, how will the leave be calculated?

Which government office is responsible for calculation of working hours? How do the government agencies calculate the total working hours(per month or six months)?

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    Comment because I don't have an authoritative source, but I don't think this would be allowed. Standard German working week is no more than 40 hours and I think employers can and do request you're not exceeding that with other jobs; their interest being your health and productivity. At least for my full-time jobs I had to sign I don't take any side jobs.
    – gerrit
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 6:37
  • @gerrit I think in most European countries it's possible to go up to a certain number (48 hours seems common, equivalent to FT + 20% - presumably that's where OP's 48 hours number comes from) as long as both employers agree. And given that many uni professors have part-time roles elsewhere I doubt that unis generally disagree ...
    – xLeitix
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 6:57
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    Your description reads as if you are looking for individual part time positions. Note that working on similar topics for multiple employers/universities is likely a conflict of interest. Cross-financing across state or funding borders can be problematic as well. Especially academic work is very difficult to separate what was done when for which employer. You will very likely have to negotiate this with both employers, not stitch anything together from parts yourself. Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:13

2 Answers 2


Concerning the leave (vacation days): if holding two jobs, you have the same amount of vacation days at each job. So normally 2,5 per month or 30 per year. But since you are not working full time, that is not a full workday but only a the fraction of the workday correlating to the hours, that is a 70% day at one job an a 50% day at the other. So that doesn't translate you now have 60 days of vacation, you only have 30 full days of vacation. Normally you take your vacation at the same time at both workplaces, because otherwise you will need to work at the place were you didn't take vacation and vice versa.

In general, although not so many people do it, in Germany there is a law that promotes part time working, so while it is not very common at universities so far, it should be possible if you ask for it.

  • I agree that there will be only 30 days' leave but if I work 50% and take 2.5 days' holiday then will it be possible to take a week off? and similarly for 3.5 days for other job Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:02
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    @RohanVaidya, no that is the misconception. You work 48h per week, thats 9,6h per day. At the one job that means 4h per day, at the other job 5,6h per day. Each vacation day at each place only gives you as many hours free per day as you work there. So one vacation day at the 50% place will give you the work day of 4h at this place free, so you still have to work the 5,6h at the other place unless you also take a day of vacation there which will give you the remainig 5,6h free. If you want a full week of vacation with no work at all, you will have to take 5 days at both places.
    – Sursula
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:09
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    If it weren't like that, you would gain mor free time by working part time.
    – Sursula
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:10
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    "You work 48h per week, thats 9,6h per day." No, that's 8 h per day with a 6 day work week. You are not legally allowed to permanently work more than 8 h per day.
    – user9482
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 8:09
  • @Roland I forgot that. In that case the whole scenario will not work as AFAIK if you are in the Öffentliche Dienst (which will be the case at the uni) you can only work on the weekend if they pay you extra, which noone want to just so that OP can work the maximum allowable hours.
    – Sursula
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 8:46

Sursula already answered the vacation part of it, so I'm not covering this. The only small addendum I have to that is that, of course, taking leave from one place doesn't mean you are automatically free from your obligations in the other - quite the opposite, what I see my colleagues with dual appointments often doing is using the vacation at their main place of work to fulfill their teaching obligations at the other.

But practically it's hard to get part-time positions. If someone manages to do it then how is it possible?

Part-time positions at universities aren't all that unusual per se, but maybe not with the percentages you have in mind. Generally speaking, when we hire we are looking for either a full-time staffer or somebody covering one specific need (oftentimes a teacher for one specific course). For the former, a 70% appointment would probably be hard to negotiate, and for the latter 30% is sort of too much. So the much more common arrangement is that people have a 100% employment at one place, and a small (10% - 20%) teaching or research assignment somewhere else. Typically, obligations with the secondary place of work are negotiated in a way that they can be done in blocks and do not require much ongoing presence (e.g., a seminar that can be done in block in three weeks, or a research project that can be done primarily remotely).

You can of course always apply for a full-time position and attempt to negotiate it down to 70% or 80%. I would not expect much enthusiasm for this plan, but depending on their specific needs (and how desperately they want to hire specifically you) it may work. Smaller part-time positions are usually found through your network - I would say, if you are an active researcher with decent standing in your local community, it's not particularly difficult to find a university that is willing to give you a small adjunct position (often in exchange for teaching a course per year) - but, again, being an adjunct teacher for 30% or 40% of the time may be more problematic, as at this point this starts to look too much like a normal professorship and may need to go through the usual formal hiring channels.

  • thanks for your answer, exactly legally it's possible but it's hard to negotiate and provide a reason. It's easy to get 70-80% but hard to get 20-30% that's why. considering 48 hours rules, I try to look for 70% and 50% Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:25
  • @RohanVaidya If I'm being honest, I would try to look at fields such as Architecture, where it's more common than in STEM to work simultaneously as a university teacher as well as a practitioner. They probably have more models for such "closer-to-equal" splits.
    – xLeitix
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:32

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