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Why it is important to embed principles of gender equality into “the structure”. HR policy at CEITEC MU – Jobs systemization rules.
Based on their very definition, projects such as LIBRA are intended to lead to a long-term change at the level of the institution and its overall culture. For this reason, it is essential to implement the gender equality plan in a manner that is sustainable and that depends neither on the duration of the project implementation, nor on any particular individuals in the project team. In this respect, written rules and strategic documents of the given institution play a key role, as well as the gender mainstreaming applied at the very start of their origination.
In 2016, the research institute CEITEC MU assessed 11 new institutional measures, such as Guidelines and policies, in terms of provisions that could directly or indirectly lead to gender (or any other) discrimination. Indeed, one measure was identified to be potentially discriminating female scientists and was subsequently modified. Below, we are presenting this case more in detail.
The aim of job systemisation rules is to define functional personnel structure including change approval processes. The rules introduce, inter alia, the minimum and maximum size of the research group that should be within the range between 5 and 15 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) and the minimum FTE of a group leader equals to 1.0 FTE. That means the group leaders at CEITEC are not allowed to work part time. There are defined exceptions for that rule, such as for group leaders who are working additionally in the management of the institute or in a clinic of a university hospital besides their position as scientists at CEITEC. In that cases, group leaders are allowed to reduce their working hours at CEITEC up to 0.5 FTE. The optimum average FTE of all research group members should equal to 0.8 FTE. The revision of these rules clearly identified the discrimination of women, who typically continue to work on a part-time basis after returning from maternity leave. In 2010, men taking parental leave in the Czech Republic represented only 1.4 % of all persons taking parental leave, and today the numbers still did not change dramatically. These rules would pressure research group leaders not to conclude such part-time agreements for their employees, because they would “impair their statistics” that are assessed and reported annually.
Thanks to the gender mainstreaming, a provision was added that eliminates such negative impacts on employees taking maternity or parental leave. The FTE of employees working part time after taking maternity/parental leave is counted in the systemisation reports as at least 0.8 FTE, even if the real FTE is below that number. That means that the given part-timer does not decrease the average FTE of the group below the required size. As a result, there is nothing obstructing women (but also men) scientists from gradually returning to their research teams and at the same time it is possible to implement a reasonable HR management policy that is institutionalised, i.e. permanent in a long-term perspective.