PhD students who finance themselves

We are aware that you are a very heterogeneous group (depending on the funding) and that various constellations would have to be looked at in individual cases. At this point, we can point out basic regulations and questions that you should clarify for yourself.

Maternity protection

General information
The Maternity Protection Act applies to all pregnant and breastfeeding persons who are enrolled in a (doctoral) degree programme at Göttingen University. Maternity protection regulations begin with pregnancy and end with the end of breastfeeding.
Six weeks before delivery (calculated date of birth) and eight weeks after delivery, pregnant persons are generally not allowed to work (= maternity protection period). You may continue to do your doctorate during the protection period if you explicitly wish to do so. You can change this wish at any time.
In the case of premature birth, multiple births or the birth of a child with a disability, the protection period may be extended to 12 weeks after birth.

Notification of pregnancy to the university:

Please use this notification procedure and inform your supervisor.

Financing (maternity benefit)

Maternity benefit is a wage replacement benefit paid by the health insurance fund and supplemented by employers if you have a contract of employment. Maternity benefit is paid during the maternity protection period (6 weeks before and 8 weeks after the birth).
As a general rule, if you are not employed and have not drawn a salary, you are more likely not to receive maternity benefit. This also applies if your employment contract ends during the protection period. However, you are entitled to parental allowance from the time of the birth.
To clarify your individual entitlement, it is best to contact your health insurance provider directly. Take then the opportunity to clarify how you will be covered by health insurance during maternity leave and parental leave.

Parental leave and parental allowance

As a doctoral student without an employment relationship, you can take parental leave from your doctorate, which you can apply for semester by semester in eCampus. As with parental leave, you are entitled to a leave of absence for 6 semesters until your child reaches the age of 8.
In order to make a good decision for or against a leave of absence, you should consider the following aspects:
Whether you are on leave or not has no influence on your parental allowance entitlement.

  • A postponement of time limits (if they exist in your doctoral programme) is possible.
  • If you take a leave of absence, you will save a large part of the semester fees, but you will lose your semester and culture ticket.
  • Regardless of a leave of absence, you can continue to pursue your doctorate, but you cannot take any official examinations.
  • Those on leave of absence can also take part in a qualification or important conference.

  • Parental allowance

    Parental allowance is between 300 euros and 1800 euros for the first 14 months or up to 28 months if you apply for ElterngeldPlus (which is half the money for twice the time). You can get additional months if your child was born prematurely or if you and the other parent work part-time at the same time during parental leave (partnership bonus).
    Important: The amount of parental allowance depends on your income from work in the last 12 months. It does not matter whether the earned income was earned from self-employed or non-self-employed work, but scholarships or other financing options are not taken into account. This means that you will receive the basic parental allowance of 300 euros per month (or 150 euros per month ElterngeldPlus) if you are financed outside of gainful employment.

    State benefits for families

    For quick clarity and an overview of family benefits to which you are entitled in your individual situation, we recommend this information tool from the BMFSJF.
    In addition to the classic family benefits, you may also be entitled to social benefits.

    Special features of social benefits that you should know:

    • If you finance yourself through unemployment benefit 1 (ALG I), you must be available to the labour market. This means that you can only continue to receive unemployment benefit I if the care of your child is secured in such a way that you could in principle be available to the labour market.
    • For unemployment benefit 2 (ALG II – also known as benefits under SGB 2 or Hartz 4), you must be "in need". You do not have to be available to the labour market during parental leave. To avoid misunderstandings: Emphasise to the Job Centre that you are doing a doctorate and avoid using the word "student". Unlike students, doctoral students are entitled to ALG II (if they are in need).
    • More low-threshold social benefits are the child allowance and housing benefit. You can check online in just a few steps whether you are entitled to the child supplement. If the check shows a claim, you should apply for both the child supplement and housing benefit. Even if the entitlement is limited to a few euros per month, we recommend that you submit an application to secure your entitlement to the Federal Participation Act (Bundesteilhabegesetz, short: BUT). With the BUT, your child can, among other things, have lunch at the day care centre free of charge and the day care centre costs are covered by the Youth Welfare Office (= Wirtschaftliche Jugendhilfe).

    The social benefits described above do not apply to international researchers who have a residence permit for the purpose of education (§16 or §18). If this applies to you, please read these notes.