“If something like this happens in the private sector,” says Hendrik Schödel, “then the employer has a big problem.” Schödel, president of the Bavarian Association of Upper Franconian Teachers (BLLV), is certainly right. But even with the Free State as an employer, it’s not better to start a job in September and still not have a salary on the account in April of the following year. At least that’s what happened to some teachers.
CSU state parliament member Holger Dremel calls the Free State of Bavaria a “reliable employer”, although it has not proved so reliable. A significant percentage of the teachers and educational assistants concerned were hired under the “Building Bridges Together” program to catch up in home education. According to the Ministry of Culture, the number of such support staff “has also increased significantly due to the crown”. Which led to late payment of salaries, administrations were overwhelmed with processing applications.
Sabine Gärtner (name changed) also experienced it. She works as a dependent teacher – that is, not a civil servant – in a school near Aschaffenburg. In September, she took on the position of fifth grade teacher and received her first full salary on December 30th. Before that, she was put off with down payments that by far did not replace the salary she was entitled to. “Without my parents I would have been screwed,” Gärtner says. When she hears someone talking about a “reliable employer” in this context, she “can only laugh”.
As a person who has been receiving a full salary on a regular basis since at least the end of 2021, Gärtner has done relatively well; according to BLLV Unterfranken, some people still don’t have their money.
The Ministry of Education is aware of the problem, it can be “regularly reported on the status of the transaction,” he said when asked. Currently, the “transaction status” is this: The “predominant majority” of contractual documents submitted on time “led to a transaction and consequently to a payment”.
The fact that it took so long is due to the “mass of employment contracts to be drawn up at the beginning of the school year”, which “represented a great challenge” for the personnel administration, which “can only be mastered gradually. “.
How difficult and time-consuming it is to process the tide of paper – according to the BLLV as of September there were 850 applications in a short time in Central Franconia – is recognized by Bavarian teachers’ associations. “It’s not that the administration employees are spinning their thumbs,” says Markus Erlinger, board member of BLLV in Middle Franconia. But nevertheless, Thomas Gehring of the Greens complains, it is “an intolerable situation”. For Hendrik Schödel of the BLLV in Upper Franconia, all of this, to put it politely, is not good publicity for the Free State as an employer.
Just like the Greens, who have failed with a corresponding motion in the Public Service Commission for lack of support for the CSU and Free Voters (FW), Schödel is calling for structural reforms. He provides for the “de-bureaucratization of forms and applications”, which cannot be filled in digitally; and “strengthening internal administration”, among other things, the so-called reconfirmation blocs are responsible for the fact that there are no successors for retired workers for months. And Schödel would like “contracts with good teachers to be extended in good time” to prevent a complete reworking of their questions contributing to the bottleneck.
CSU and FW, on the other hand, see the topic as “a fictitious discussion,” said CSU man Dremel on the committee. There is no doubt that it is important “that the Free State pay its employees on time”. But the pandemic was “a special situation”. “I think we’re in a good position there.”
However, teachers’ associations and the Greens already see the next obstacle to unplanned payment for teachers. That is when new teachers submit their applications for the education of children who have fled from Ukraine. “We have to fear that the same thing will happen again,” says Markus Erlinger.
The number of questions will likely remain lower this time, however, and not just because there are fewer children to school. Many educators have had bad experiences, Erlinger says. In the state parliament commission, Green Gehring reported on retirees who intervened for the recovery program, but “do not want to repeat the bureaucratic act”.
According to his own statements, the Ministry of Education is working on permanent improvements. In the short term, those affected would have received advances and would have “already verified the procedural steps and documents necessary to streamline and adapt them accordingly”. Means: the scope of the modules has been reduced and administrative staff have also been “sensitized” to some points in order to make progress more efficiently. In addition, funds were made available for additional pandemic-related programs “to increase human resources” for 2021, 2022 and 2023 “to hire additional staff to cope with peak workloads.”
Either way, it looks promising.