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Family-friendly working time models

More flexibility makes it easier to balance family and career


More flexibility makes compatibility easier

Whoever looks after children, perhaps caring for relatives, is dependent on variable working hours. Flexible, family-friendly working time models make it easier for mothers and fathers to combine their jobs with childcare, daycare and school. Numerous employers are already accommodating such requests. Find out about the various models here on the Familienportal.NRW.


The term stands for a wealth of work models. In addition to the classic half-day job, full working days and days off can also be combined. Different variants at a glance:

  • Classical part-time: The daily working time is reduced by individual agreement. The start and length of the working days are bindingly specified in the employment contract.
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  • Variable part-time: The weekly working time is limited to a binding number of hours. When to work is a matter of agreement. For example, the working time can be set to specific days and hours. It can also be flexible according to short-term agreement.
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  • Seasonal part-time: Here, too, the average number of hours per week is reduced. However, it can be sometimes below, sometimes above the agreed number of hours. This is especially common in industries where the season determines the workload. Here, too, flexible contracts are possible, up to temporary full-time work with appropriate compensation at another time.
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  • Full-time near part-time: This model includes a weekly working time from 30 hours. The working time can be distributed, for example, on four days, or a daily earlier and thus family-friendly end of work. This is also an option for managers.
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Working time account and credit balance

A special way is the working time account. There are time credits on it, if more hours than contractually worked and vice versa. Time value accounts also offer the possibility of saving working time over a longer period. This allows employees to take time off at a later date for a sabbatical year, for example. The salary is then paid accordingly.



Come later, leave later or come earlier, leave earlier - this is possible with a flexitime arrangement. In principle, it is possible everywhere where a job does not start exactly on the minute. It becomes difficult in customer-oriented professions, such as retail and nursing, but also in shift work. Flexitime is particularly suitable for parents who have to care for their offspring in the morning or afternoon. Likewise for many who are challenged in caring for relatives. Flexitime can also be useful for commuters, who can use transportation more effectively. Flextime can lead to a full job as well as forms of part-time. Either way: As a rule, flextime includes a core working time during which attendance is mandatory. Precise details can be specified in the contract.


Die Funktionszeit führt das Modell der Gleitzeit weiter. Dabei können Sie als Angestellte oder Angestellter nicht nur die Randzeiten flexibel gestalten, sondern den gesamten Arbeitstag. Eine Kernarbeitszeit entfällt. Der Fokus liegt damit nicht auf der Erreichbarkeit zu bestimmten Zeiten, sondern auf der Erfüllung Ihrer Arbeitsaufgabe. 

Job sharing

In this working time model, two - or more - employees share a full-time position. This works simply, if the participants have an identical field of activity and this simply temporally one after the other or alternately fill. Must be determined, in addition to the working hours, the areas of responsibility and the tasks to be assumed by each.


Da das Modell des Jobsharings zudem die Übernahme verantwortungsvoller Aufgaben in einer abgestimmten Teilzeitlösung ermöglicht, ist es auch für Führungskräfte interessant, die trotz verminderter Arbeitszeit ebenfalls in ihren Positionen bleiben könnten. In diesem Fall spricht man vom sogenannten „Top-Sharing“.  
Auch Arbeitgeber profitieren von geteilten Arbeitsplätzen: Sie können qualifizierte Arbeits- und Führungskräfte im Unternehmen halten und zugleich die Fähigkeiten zweier Personen für eine Position nutzen.  

Home Office

With the outbreak of the pandemic, home office has become commonplace in many areas. Home office offers a lot of advantages: Work and family can be reconciled more easily, commuting is no longer necessary, and working hours can be arranged more variably. What is needed is a good technical infrastructure and, above all, a room in which undisturbed and concentrated work is possible. However, there are also disadvantages: The direct, immediate exchange with the team and the supervisor(s) is eliminated. Separating work and private life is not always easy. For example, it has been found that many people in home offices work significantly longer hours than they used to, such as evenings and weekends. Home office can also be combined with working hours in the office on a daily basis.

Negotiate the right working time model

Many mothers and fathers want to combine family and career. Much more is possible today than was the case a few years ago. It is therefore worthwhile to enter into a discussion with the employer at an early stage in order to negotiate the appropriate working time model for the return to work and to find an individual solution. The scope and location of working hours can be adjusted over time. If the previous workplace is not suitable for the desired model, another position in the company may come into question that makes it easier to reconcile the two.

This is what you should consider when choosing a working time model!

A lower number of hours is associated with reduced earnings, which in turn leads to a lower pension in old age. So it's a matter of doing the math to find the right model! On this topic, also read the article "Mothers in the pension trap: poverty in old age is a major risk for women" here on Familienportal.NRW. You can use the part-time calculator on the portal of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to determine your part-time salary.

Where can I find help and advice?

The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has set up a citizens' hotline on issues relating to part-time work, partial retirement and mini-jobs. The citizens' hotline can be reached Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 030 221 911 005.

More informationLinks for further reading

The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs NRW provides an overview of the legal and collective bargaining framework on its Internet portal.

Information about part-time models and ways from full to part-time is provided by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs on its Internet portal.