Families feel comfortable in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region because they sense that they are welcome and that efforts are being made to look after their welfare. Young families in particular desire above all an adequate and flexible degree of child care opportunities in their immediate surroundings. Their quality of life is decisively characterised by the ease with which work and the family can be reconciled.
In the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, family friendliness has been regarded as one of the most crucial location and growth factors for years. A wide range of initiatives has been instigated and solution approaches developed at social, economic and political level. The key topic of family friendliness is right near the top of the agenda of corporate human resource policies and municipal family policy.
The "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum, a project organised under the umbrella of Rhein-Neckar Metropolregion GmbH, contributes to the regional coordination of these multifarious activities. Its members (to date around 500 representatives from business, science and politics) have been jointly engaging in realising sustainable concepts for improving the compatibility of work and family in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region since as long ago as 1999.
The objective of the "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum is to create family-friendly basic conditions for the working world and to make the metropolitan region even more attractive for families. Against this background, a major scientific study commissioned by the forum was conducted in 2007. Based on the first representative corporate survey on the theme of "Compatibility", it delivered a definitive portrait of potential and requirements in the region.
The forum sensitises companies and local authorities to the interests of families, informs companies and parents about all issues relating to compatibility, and networks protagonists from the worlds of politics, business and society by organising various events. At national level, the forum is also involved in the nationwide "Success factor - family" corporate network and acts as a point of contact for more than 100 regional members of the initiative. Regular specialised conferences, network meetings and a newsletter ("Infoblitz") are just some of the services offered by the forum. The forum's ongoing, municipal boundary-transcending network activities form the basis for enabling the MRN to establish itself as a family-friendly living and working environment. To achieve this goal, the forum initiates and sets up different working groups (WG) together with its partners:
- "Family-friendly college" WG
- "Youth welfare departments – youth day care" WG
- "Family-friendly companies" WG
- "Local alliances for families in the MRN" WG
An overview of the services offered by the "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum:
- Family-friendliness label "Breastfeeding and nappy-changing room"
- Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region child care database
- Babysitter's certificate of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region
- Qualification for child minders – the Quality Pass
- Family-friendly college evaluation
- "Compatibility of work and family in the training of executives" teaching unit
- Practical guide to holiday care
- Compatibility of Work and Care
- Compatibility of work and care
The compatibility of work and care is an issue that concerns more and more people. According to the Federal Statistical Office, Germany already has around 2.5 million people who require nursing care. Two thirds of these are looked after in the home, a large majority by relatives.
On account of demographic change, it is estimated that this number will double within the next twenty years – in conjunction with a diminishing number of next-generation skilled workers. In particular, the short-term and unpredictable nature of nursing cases, as well as the severe psychological and physical strain on the relatives, are two of the greatest challenges that have to be faced. Another frequently arising concern for relatives are demanding mobility needs.
Companies are also affected when their employees have to reconcile job and care needs, with risks including incalculable absences, more frequent time off work, limited productivity as well as greater fluctuation.
More information on the services we offer is available personally from the contact partners named here.
- Breastfeeding and nappy-changing room
Sometimes it is just the apparently minor details which make everyday life easier for families and provide for enhanced family friendliness. This has also been the experience of the Weinheim parents' action group. A guidance system was introduced in the twin-castle town in the autumn of 2008 which shows parents with small children the way to breastfeeding and nappy-changing facilities. Inspired by the idea, at the beginning of 2009 sixteen "Local alliances for the family" from around the region formed a joint working group on the initiative of the "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum. The first project: The region-wide introduction of the family friendliness label "Breastfeeding and nappy-changing room", a joint concept from the Eberbach, Hassloch, Heidelberg, Mannheim and Weinheim local alliances and the MRN.
Since mid-2009, the green and blue stickers have been distributed to regional shops, catering establishments and public administration buildings, as well as to companies, that offer suitable breastfeeding and/or nappy-changing facilities for visitors and employees under the observance of certain quality criteria. Meanwhile, many more project partners have joined the initiative, and nappy-changing and breastfeeding rooms are now to be found at many places in the MRN.
Are you interested in offering breastfeeding or nappy-changing facilities? We look forward to you contacting the local alliance active in your town or our project partners.
The brochure for the family-friendliness label "Breastfeeding and nappy-changing room" can be found here.
The "Breastfeeding and nappy-changing rooms" are a joint project run by Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH and the local family alliances in the region, and were made possible by the friendly support of MVV, Roche, John Deere, BASF and the Rhine-Neckar Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
- Babysitter's certificate
Babysitting is a matter of confidence, which is why young parents prefer to fall back on the support of family or friends. But what can you do if grandma and grandpa can't help out?
In the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, parents should not have to worry about the competence of a carer they don't know. The "Babysitter's certificate of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region" has been a verified qualification for flexible hourly care of toddlers since 2007. Successful participants at one of the approved qualification programmes are awarded the babysitter's certificate of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.
The various MRN qualification partners are listed below. These can also be found in the child care database under "Babysitter placement".
- child care database
The reconciliation of working and family lives frequently fails because parents and companies are not aware of the appropriate facilities and the services they offer. The child care database run by the "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum turns searching for suitable care offers for parents and companies into "child's play".
For parents: Who clicks, finds!
You will find a comprehensive overview of all the available offers according to your specific requirements (e.g. place of residence and kinds of care). The results can be refined even further by specifying additional search criteria such as "age of the child", "duration of the required care" and "types of service".
For employers: Family friendliness is worthwhile!
Set a link to the child care database on your Web site or in your Intranet and offer your employees a family-friendly service! We will be pleased to provide you with posters, online banners or advertising material.
For care providers: Present your services as well!
The database enables you to present and publicise your care services free of charge. At the same time, you will contribute to enhancing the quality of the database.
Click here for the child care database
- Qualification for child minders – the Quality Pass
Today, parents and legal guardians wish to reconcile their family and working lives. To achieve this, they need reliable care opportunities and a broadly diversified range of facilities that cover the different needs of children and families. They also want to be sure that their children are being well looked after educationally. Both the quantity as well as the quality of the available offers are therefore important.
To document the qualifications of day carers and prove them to parents and legal guardians, the municipal and local authorities in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region have developed a regional quality pass for child minders. This quality pass is intended to contribute to the adoption of common standards for day care qualifications in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, and to give parents and legal guardians the assurance that they are entrusting their children to professional and certified child minders.
The quality pass for day child care in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region takes into consideration legal stipulations and the wide range of implementing provisions in force in the individual federal states, and is recognised by all municipalities. In future, the quality standard is intended to amount to 160 teaching units throughout the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.
The curriculum of the German Youth Institute forms the basis for the educational contents of the qualification. A basic qualification provides day carers with a professional framework enabling them to do justice to the support aspects of day care.
After all, day child care is not just about supervision, but also includes education and upbringing.
Further information is available from the youth welfare departments in the metropolitan region.
A list of qualification partners can be found here.
- Family-friendly college
The science location of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, with its 22 institutes of higher education, around 90,000 students and numerous research establishments, holds a special interest for graduates and scientists from all over the world.
In May 2007, the "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum established the working group "Family-friendly college". In this group, dedicated representatives of the regional colleges, student unions and chambers of industry and commerce pursue the aim of developing the MRN into a family-friendly seat of science. A look at the demographic development and lack of skilled workers in Germany shows that compatibility solutions must be brought to bear at the study stage. In future, such solutions will play an increasingly crucial role in the university landscape.
Consequently, universities are faced by the challenge of organising family-friendly solutions for several target groups with absolutely differing requirements, namely for both scientific and administrative staff as well as for the students. The aim is to develop concepts that take into consideration child care as well as the nursing of relatives during everyday college life.
Whether studying or an academic career – in future, both paths should become more compatible in the MRN with the needs of family planning. The "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum has compiled a pamphlet with an overview of the various family-friendly measures put into place by the colleges. The questionnaire used for the survey on which it is based can be found here.
- "Compatibility of work and family" teaching module
The benefits of a family-oriented corporate and human resources policy are to a large extent apparent. Nevertheless, companies are frequently reticent about putting such ideas into practice. One reason is that many executives are not aware of the tangible economic benefits. On the other hand, gaps in their knowledge of the basic legal requirements or a lack of know-how about their practical realisation complicate the implementation of family-friendly measures. This is why it is crucial to familiarise the next generations of managers with this theme during their training.
For this reason the "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum from Rhein-Neckar Metropolregion GmbH has compiled a teaching unit for informing up-and-coming executives (while they are still studying) about the options available for reconciling work and the family more satisfactorily. The modularly designed teaching unit handles topics such as the economic effects of family-compatible measures, as well as looking at the possibilities available for implementing and organising family-friendly activities at companies. Once these basic frameworks have been developed, students can apply their knowledge to a corporate case method co-developed and accompanied by the project's sponsors, Heidelberger Leben and SAP.
This new approach was adopted for the first time during the 2010/11 winter term as part of the "International Human Resource Management" master's course at the advanced technical college in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. After a successful trial run, it is planned to integrate it in executive training programmes as part of all the relevant study courses offered in the MRN. This will permanently anchor the theme of "Compatibility of Work and Family" in the training of executives.
- Holiday care
Holidays often present working parents with a major challenge – 5 to 6 weeks' holiday a year set against 12 weeks of school holidays. Holiday care that is oriented to the needs of working parents and is therefore available all day is a valuable solution.
Here companies have the opportunity to assist their employees in organising holiday care. After all, employers benefit as well because then it becomes easier to plan work schedules and to do so more flexibly for all those involved.
The "Compatibility of Work and Family" forum, together with MVV Energie AG and TSV Mannheim Hockey e.V., has set up just such a company-supported holiday camp: the "Delta kids" holiday camps.
Organise your own holiday care!
The forum has prepared a practical orientation and support guide for companies that would like to organise holiday care for their employees' children. You can find this practical holiday care guide here.
More supplementary documentation on organising your own holiday care:
Existing holiday care offers can be found in the child care database at: kinderbetreuungsdatenbank.de