Academic Staff Council

Teaching and research conditions

In this area, the most important topics are:

  • Dealing with sick leave

  • Copyright law regarding teaching materials

  • Business trips - conference travel

  • Operational Agreement on Performance Bonuses

  • Research leaves of absence

Dealing with sick leave and teaching

“What will happen to my course if I, as a lecturer, fall ill?” This is a question we are frequently confronted with. The Vice Rector  for Academic Programs and Student Affairs has drawn up a set of guidelines to follow in such a case in a policy document (WUPOL) which can be read in German here.

The following is a short summary of those guidelines:
If you are unable to teach due to illness, you will have to report sick and cancel your classes. A maximum of 15% of the contact teaching time (i.e. a maximum of 2  unit teaching sessions for a weekly class made up of 15 units) of any course can be cancelled due to illness without being made up. The course lecturer is expected to provide students with materials to allow self-study, e.g. reading assignments or homework. The same applies if parts of a block course cannot be made up within the same semester. If, however, more than 15% of the contact teaching time for a course is missed due to illness, this additional time lost must be made up, either by  the course lecturer or by a substitute.

Of course, it is your statutory right to continue to receive remuneration, including any teaching allowance that may be due, during your illness. Beyond this, those teaching hours which are made up are viewed as additional teaching, regardless of whether they are performed by the course lecturer him / herself or the substitute. If this additional teaching leads to an excess in the respective all-in teaching load (an overview of this can be found here, then a teaching allowance can be claimed. To do this an application must be made to the Academic Controlling office ( Note that this allowance may only be received if the additional teaching is performed during the current academic year.


Teaching materials used in courses often consist –partially or even entirely of works created by third parties.

This means that these materials cannot be published on the Internet unless permission is granted.

If certain teaching materials are made publicly accessible, a number of legal criteria must be met. These are primarily copyright issues.

At a meeting in May 2015, Dr. Clemens Appl gave a keynote speech on the subject of "Who owns my slides?" ("Wem gehören meine Folien")

Leaflet for authors in academia

Business trips / conference trips

According to labor law, trips made by an employee on behalf of the employer are generally considered business trips (Dienstreise). The reimbursement for such trips is regulated in a WU operational agreement.

Conference trips, in contrast, are generally not viewed as business trips by WU. The practice to date is that the majority of conference attendance by faculty takes the form of leave of absence with continued payment. The costs of such travel are reimbursed to a certain extent - insofar as they are covered by the guidelines of the Rector’s Council. More detailed information on eligibility and the funding regulations can be found here

Nevertheless,in the context ofyour legal right to claim social insurance, it is irrelevant whether or not a journey is technically regarded as a business trip. Rather, the decisive factor is whether any accident suffered during a journey can be regarded as work-related or as a result of a leisure activity. Only “occupational” (ie work-related) accidents fall under the statutory accident insurance scheme, while accidents that occur as a result of leisure activities are only covered in terms of health insurance. This distinction is important for ascertaining which benefits are due (e.g. to what extent the costs of rehabilitation are covered).

According to accident insurance law an accident can be deemed as occupational simply if the circumstances have a context to the performance of work tasks.

Since the "leave of absence" granted by WU for participation in a meeting, conference, etc. is for a specific purpose (it is granted only for the purpose of attending the meeting, because this is in the interest of WU) and the entitlement to remuneration is also not reduced as a result, the required connection with the employment relationship is given by the actual participation in the meeting. Attendance at the conference is thus covered by the statutory accident insurance. Work-related accidents suffered in the course of the meeting then also constitute an occupational accident covered by the statutory accident insurance (§ 90 para. 1 B-KUVG).

Accidents that occur during attendance at professional training or further education courses are  also treated as work-related accidents, insofar as such attendance is deemed to be appropriate for promoting the professional advancement of the insured person. To be recognized as such,  a course must have at least a minimal time structure (e.g. conference program) and serve to supplement prior knowledge by acquainting the insured person with new findings, new working methods, etc. and their impact on the various subfields relevant to the profession in question. A connection with the specific employment relationship is not absolutely necessary (§ 91 para. 1 no. 4 B-KUVG).

In the event that the statutory accident insurance is not liable to pay benefits for accidents suffered on conference trips in individual cases (for example, in the case of leisure accidents not covered by the statutory accident insurance), WU employees may assert claims under the existing collective accident insurance. In addition, for illnesses or accidents suffered while traveling abroad, WU employees are entitled to make claims under the international health insurance policy taken out by WU for its employees (which is subsidiary to the statutory or any existing private health insurance).

Further information can be found here:

Group accident insurance and international business travel insurance for academic staff members on leave of absence (Kollektiv-Unfallversicherung und Auslandsreise-Krankenversicherung für wissenschaftliches Personal bei Freistellungen).

Your contact person:

Karin Burger-Ehrnhofer

Operational Agreement on Performance Bonuses

At WU, staff members receive bonuses for outstanding achievements in research, publications and third-party funding, as well as in teaching and supervision. The eligibility criteria and amounts for which are laid down in an operational agreement.

The Academic Staff Council is in regular contact with the employer to ensure that the funds available for such bonuses are distributed fairly.

The current version of the operational agreement can be found here. The main focus is on the following regulations:

  • Bonuses for outstanding research achievements (bonuses for A+ publications, bonuses for the acquisition of third-party funding, Department-specific performance bonuses)

  • Research bonuses for teaching and research associates / assistants (bonuses for outstanding dissertation)

  • Examination bonuses (thesis supervision , large-scale examinations, module and subject examinations)

The aims of the Academic Staff Council in these negotiations were and are:

  • adjustments of the existing regulations to reflect current circumstances;

  • creation of a more transparent system while at the same time increasing its "accuracy";

  • proper compensation for services rendered, also in financial terms.

Performance bonuses relating to research projects and collective accounts (as defined by  § 27 UG for exceptional performance) are subject to the guidelines of the Third-Party Funding Directive, which was updated in March 2021. You can read them here.

Additional information on performance bonuses and other internal WU awards can be found on the following pages:

WU Journalratings and Performance Awards.

In-House Honors & Awards

Your contact person:

Karin Burger-Ehrnhofer

Research exemptions

At WU, academic faculty can take advantage of various forms of short-tem or long-term leave of absence for research purposes. A general overview can be found on the info pages for research staff. A list of all research grants and awards can be found here. The Academic Staff Council makes sure that all faculty members have access to research funding programs on equal terms and that their terms do not lead to some being freed from teaching and administrative tasks at the expense of others. The large variety of research exemptions should include attractive offers for all faculty members at WU.