SPIEGEL: Ms Feist, you are a mother yourself, but as a boss you are raising the alarm because so many of your employees want to take parental leave. How does it fit together?
Nora Feist : I do not want to play the whiny agent boss; I am concerned about the social injustice that I experience: It is always the women who take long parental leave and then return only part-time. With this imbalance we are slowly reaching our limits. But that does not just affect our agency, but all sectors where mostly women work. First and foremost, it is not the parental leave that is the problem, but the part-time afterwards. Often mothers only want to work for a few hours, which is difficult in an agency where we need to be available to our customers. The right to part-time is at our expense.
SPIEGEL: Why is part-time work a problem?
Feist: Basically, I have nothing against part-time, especially with 30 hours a week is not a problem. But if everyone only wants to work on Tuesdays to Thursdays and only in the mornings, that does not work. We need employees who are still available on Friday afternoons for our customers. That's why the men have to run!
Fathers and parental leave
Every fifth father ...
would have liked to take parental leave, but has waived for fear of income losses, professional disadvantages or organizational problems in the operation, it says in the "fathers report" of the Ministry of Family Affairs.
Every third father ...
According to "Father Report" says that his time is not enough for the children.
433,000 fathers ...
bought parental benefit in 2018. This was seven percent more than in 2017. By comparison, in 2018, 1.4 million mothers received parental allowance, an increase of three percent over the previous year.
For three months ...
fathers receive parental benefit on average. Mothers receive parental benefit for an average of 12 months.
SPIEGEL: And how do you want to achieve that?
Feist: I'm not a politician, and I do not want to tell anyone how he or she has to work. My appeal goes to the companies where mostly men work: Do not make it so difficult for fathers to take care of their children! It can not be that men are still looking funny if they take more than two months parental leave or want to reduce their working hours to take care of the children.
SPIEGEL: How many of your employees mentioned that as a reason why they want to work less?
Feist: Two of those who currently work for us. And two more who are currently on parental leave.
SPIEGEL: But with 16 employees, that sounds manageable.
Feist: It's still a quarter of the staff. In the course of the years it was much more, and also in applications this topic occurs again and again. As I said before, however, I am not only concerned with my personal situation as an agency boss, but with the social imbalance. Even in my circle of acquaintances I hear again and again: My husband can not reduce the working time in any case. My appeal goes therefore also to the women: Talk to the fathers, seek together for solutions. For example, if both parents work 30 hours, it's just a small incision for both.
SPIEGEL: Children do not necessarily have to be cared for by their parents. There are also daycare centers.
Feist: That's true, but the opening hours often do not match the working hours. When the kids go to school, things get even harder because everything is focused on the morning. But that does not change anything about the unfair treatment of women. Nobody asks a father of three how he agrees with family and work. This is an immediate topic for women. There has to be a rethink in society.
SPIEGEL: How long has your husband taken parental leave?
Feist: He did not take any at the time. As a self-employed person with its own restaurant that was not possible. But that was ten years ago, today I would demand more. I also understand that women are more likely to take parental leave; it is because the man deserves more or because they want to breastfeed and care for their child. But at least after the time-out, the work should be distributed fairly and not the entire care should be outsourced to the mother unsolicited. At least that was the case with my husband and I, since we both were self-employed after my parental leave.