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University of Basel

Junior Academic Faculty

Terms of employment for assistants

The University of Basel staff regulations apply in principle to academic staff, including assistants. Certain items are expanded upon, which are detailed in the regulations for academic staff at the University of Basel.

Working hours and length of employment

An assistant position in connection with PhD studies is limited to one year with the option to renew for three years. If it is absolutely necessary for academic training and, in particular, with regard to family duties, the position can be renewed for a maximum of one additional year in justified cases.

An assistant position in connection with a postdoctoral qualification is limited to two years with the option to renew for four years.

The positions of project assistants are limited to the period of the externally funded research project and can only be renewed as part of this project framework.

Regardless of the level of employment, at least half of the working hours must be available for own research.

It is highly recommended to arrange the terms of any renewal of employment in a timely manner and to openly communicate expectations and needs.

For the duration of maternity leave, please note that the work of everyone involved is made easier through prudent scheduling coordination and comprehensive and clearly defined arrangements for replacements, for example, when it comes to overseeing students' work, lectures or exams.

Terms of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Maternity leave

The local rules with respect to maternity leave are applicable for projects that receive funding (see above). Female scholarship recipients are entitled to four months of paid maternity leave during the term of the SNSF scholarship. The female scholarship recipient reports this directly to their contact person at the SNSF. Reporting of the birth as well as an agreement with respect to paid maternity leave are also required for the other individual funding instruments. The respective program coordinators are to be contacted.

Paternity leave

Scholarship recipients can be given one to four months of paid paternity leave during the SNSF scholarship upon submission of a justified petition.


If small children are taken in for care and parenting with the intention of subsequent adoption, the SNSF basically recognizes the local rules covering leave of absence and continued pay (see above). Wherever the local rules provide for less than two months, the SNSF finances two months of leave and continued pay.

Renewal of SNSF financing

Funding can be renewed for the duration of the approved maternity or paternity leave. For this purpose, the project coordinator at the University of Basel submits an application to the SNSF. The approved application is sent to the HR department at the university.

Scholarship recipients are allowed to interrupt their stay temporarily due to parenting as long as it does not jeopardize the project. Reducing the workload for a temporary period of time is also allowed. Both cases require a well-founded, written petition.

Unpaid parental leave due to birth

A petition for unpaid parental leave can be submitted with the approval of the supervisor. It must be well-founded and commensurate with the objective of the research project. The same applies for recipients of SNSF scholarships, Marie Heim-Vögtlin or Ambizione grants or SNSF professorships.

These recipients must submit a well-founded, official petition for unpaid parental leave directly, along with the approval of the host institute.

Replacements during parental leave

If the position requires a replacement in order for research to continue successfully, this will generally be approved by the SNSF and be given additional funding.

The petition must be submitted by the project coordinator at the University of Basel. The petition will be granted, for example, if the unborn child of a pregnant researcher would be subjected to a health risk during the project.

Flexibility Grant

Flexibility grants are aimed at postdocs and doctoral students who have to look after children at an important stage in their career and are therefore in need of more flexibility. The Flexibility Grant offers researchers two options to balance their professional and private lives: on the one hand, it can provide funding to help cover the external child care costs charged to the researcher. On the other hand, it can be used to help finance the salary of a support person, allowing the grantee to reduce his/her work quota. The two measures can also be combined.

Externally funded staff

Many PhD and postdoc students at the University of Basel are externally funded staff members.

These employment contracts are distinguished by the fact that they are temporary, concluded under private law and funded by external parties (for example, SNSF).

The duration of the projects is limited by the external funding partner, for example, through research funds awarded for a limited period of time.

The same legal basis applies in terms of work and family balance for externally funded staff as for other University of Basel staff. Please observe the separate rules of the external funding partner as well as the impact of the limited duration of the position.

Entitlement to maternity leave

Maternity leave in connection with an externally funded position does not extend beyond the end of the employment agreement. Thereafter, maternity benefits are collected directly from the compensation fund. These benefits are 80% of the average salary paid during the five months prior to the birth of the child.

The application form for maternity compensation must always be completed. The staff member completes Part A and submits it to the HR office along with the birth certificate and family register/certificate.

Option to extend the externally funded position for a period equivalent to the duration of the maternity leave

The time limit of the projects is decided by the external funding partner. Externally funded staff who have to interrupt their work at the university due to pregnancy and parenthood are recommended to consult the appropriate creditors in a timely fashion to deal with an extension of the externally funded research projects.

Scholarship recipients

Early career researchers receiving scholarships are not employees of the University of Basel. In terms of balancing work and family, they are subject to any existing requirements defined by the scholarship sponsor.

Further information
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